Lorenzana says Misuari threat of war just a bluff

Published March 24, 2019, 2:42 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Francis Wakefield 

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana Sunday expressed belief that Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari and his men are still capable of creating trouble like they did during the Zamboanga City siege in September 2013, but not enough to be able to wage a war.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (Office of the Secretary of National Defense / MANILA BULLETIN) (Photo: Joseph Vidal/PRIB/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (Office of the Secretary of National Defense / MANILA BULLETIN) (Photo: Joseph Vidal/PRIB/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Lorenzana made the remark days after Misuari warned he would wage war if his aspiration for federalism would not be pursued.

However, the defense chief stressed that Misuari no longer has the manpower to wage war as most of his men have gravitated to the BARMM or Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“Misuari’s threat is just sound bites in an attempt to make himself to be noticed. But he is missing a great chance to be really relevant. He should accept the BARMM, work within it and lend his leadership, stature and expertise to make it succeed,” Lorenzana said.

“My guess? He’s bluffing,” he added.

Meanwhile, former MNLF Chairman Muslimin G..Serna said there was no valid reason to make threats of war – veiled or otherwise.

“War is not a child’s play and already considered uncivilized. Our people has been through to so much of violence and displacement. It is time we truly give them not only peace of mind but more importantly the chance to rebuild their lives and enjoy the dividends of peace,” Serna said in a separate statement.

Serma said, as far he was concerned, the root causes of Moro secession was being addressed through Republic Act 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), and now by the BTA Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

He said over the past two days, threats of war have been made by a certain individual misleading the people regarding the true intentions and aspirations of the MNLF.

As a former Chairman of the MNLF duly elected by the MNLF Central Committee, Serna clarified that they respect and adhere to the provisions of the 1996 Peace Agreement which was signed by and between the Government of Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the MNLF as witnessed by the Republic of Indonesia and the Organization of Islamic Conference Secretary General.

He added that while federalism may be a solution to the Bangsamoro issue, the 1996 FPA (Final Peace Agreement) did not provide for it, but merely for meaningful autonomy and the integration of their fighters into the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“Our quest for meaningful autonomy can be realized through fully implemented peace agreements such as the 1996 FPA and the 2014 CAB,” Serna said.

“We likewise support the recommendations made by the Tripartite Review Panel composed of the GRP, the MNLF and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) most specifically the convergence of all Moro Fronts and other Bangsamoro organizations and peoples to support all efforts to achieve lasting Peace in Mindanao through the enactment of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) which was sponsored by Congressmen and women of Mindanao specially Bai Sandra Sema, and recently approved by His Excellency President Rodrigo R Duterte.”

“Upon consultation with the MNLF Central Committee, we, the members of the MNLF Central Committee, and its entire hierarchy and membership hereby commit ourselves to pursue the path of lasting peace by standing behind the duly constituted authority of our country led by His Excellency President Rodrigo R. Duterte, as a means of achieving our aspiration for the best quality of life for our people,” he added.

President Duterte earlier bared that Misuari has warned he would wage war if his aspiration for federalism would not be pursued,
To avoid potential conflict, the President proposed the creation of a panel to negotiate the federalism proposal with the Misuari’s group during their meeting at the Palace Tuesday night.

Duterte said Misuari wanted federalism so the Moros can recover their lands seized during the foreign colonial times.

“Sabi ko let us talk. Sabi niya sige, ito ang gusto ko federalism I said, let us talk. he said, okay I want federalism],” the President said about their meeting last March 19.

He said the MNLF leader mentioned that it was then President Corazon Aquino who actually promised the federalism system to the Moro community.