Philippines: Moro groups form alliance against Daesh

By Hader Glang

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (AA): The country’s two major Muslim revolutionary organizations have formed an alliance against ISIS or Daesh-inspired militant groups operating in southern Philippines.

In a joint statement issued on Monday, Mohaqher Iqbal of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Datu Muslimin Sema of Moro National Liberation Front announced the signing of a unity agreement which aims to take action against the militant groups in the Central Mindanao region.

“Unity and closer cooperation could prevent the militants from penetrating Bangsamoro communities in the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani, and Sultan Kudarat,” the MILF and MNLF joint statement read that was agreed on Saturday in Palimbahg, Sultan Kudarat.

Iqbal said under the agreement, the MILF and MNLF will conduct joint intervention measures, share information, and provide forces, if necessary, to thwart ISIS-inspired armed groups from infiltrating the said communities.

In this connection, the MILF’s peace negotiating panel chair and a member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission added the MILF and MNLF formed a “Biwang Bangsamoro Unified Coordinating Council”.

Sema, who chairs the MNLF’s Bangsamoro People’s National Congress, said the agreement that forms the Biwang council is purely an act of unity and cooperation between the MNLF and MILF.

“Our aim is to ensure the safety and protection of the people against bad elements who want to sow terrorist acts in areas covered by Biwang,” he underscored.

Meanwhile, Iqbal described the council as a good key to establishing sustainable peace and order, saying that they don’t want the peace efforts they’re developing with the government to be spoiled by the so-called ISIS-inspired groups.

The Biwang area covers the towns of Sto. Niño and Lake Sebu in South Cotabato; Bagumbayan, Senator Ninoy Aquino, and Palimbang in Sultan Kudarat; and Maitum, Maasim, and Kiamba in Sarangani.

In March 2004, the MILF and government signed a peace accord. While the MNLF signed a peace agreement with government in September 1996.

[Archive photo: President Benigno Aquino III with Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chair Murad Ebrahim in Sultan Kudarat Magindanao on 16 June 2015. Photographer: IHH/AA]

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