Misuari ready to give way to new MNLF leadership

Published March 19, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Antonio L. Colina IV and Nonoy E. Lacson

Davao City – Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari said he was ready to step aside and allow the second generation to take over his post so that he can finally rest after leading 50 years of the Moro armed struggle in Mindanao.

This was disclosed by the 79-year-old leader as MNLF marked its 50th year anniversary last Sunday.

“I called our President, brother Rody, I said, in my last meeting with him, I do hope that on March 18, today, we can already visualize what exactly is going to happen because after 50 years, maybe it’s about time I take some rest and let the second liners among our leadership to take over,” Misuari told his followers.

Nevertheless, Misuari vowed to continue working for the “freedom of his people till the end of time” if they are not able to see an end to nearly 72 years of the Moro struggle triggered by the annexation of the Bangsamoro homeland as part of the newly-established Philippine Republic when it obtained independence from the United States on July 4, 1946.

“Victory is at-hand. Everywhere in our homeland, millions are celebrating this great, great day, symbolizing that indeed we are now on the path of victory to peace and freedom,” he said.

The MNLF founding chair signed the 1976 Tripoli Agreement with the government under the presidency of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with then President Fidel V. Ramos.

Misuari went into hiding for three years following the Zamboanga siege staged by his followers in 2013 that led to the filing of criminal charges against him. He was granted temporary liberty to be able to participate in the peace talks.

Meanwhile, Yusop Jikiri,  chair of the MNLF central committee said that the MNLF started operating as a front in  the village of Pasil in Indanan, Sulu on March 18, 1968.

And last Sunday, about 2,000 MNLF combatants joined the celebration, brandishing high-powered firearms, in Camp Al’ Mabuhok, which is located in Pasil.

“Al’ Mabuhok is very memorable to us, because this is camp is that government troops from three battalions failed to overrun,” Jikiri said.

He also recalled that it was in Al’ Mabuhok that “our  first  municipal chairman Muhajir Malayam organized the MNLF,  who shouted to the whole world the loss of our freedom.”