MILF wants Bangsamoro 'sub-state' in Mindanao

Posted at 08/09/2011 4:10 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The chief peace negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on Tuesday bared more details of the MILF's proposal for a  Bangsamoro sub-state in Mindanao.

MILF negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad explained to President Aquino their proposal for a sub-state still under the Philippine government.

“Basically, the sub-state is still under the Philippines and it has (four) layers of power and authority reserved for the central government which are foreign relations, national defense, currency and postal services and there is residual power for the sub-state. Also, there are joint jurisdiction of power, exercised jointly by the central government and the (sub) state government,” he said.

He said Aquino asked how the MILF came up with the proposal for a sub-state but made no further comments.

"Hindi kasi hindi negotiation yun e. It's more on the discussion how would the two parties proceed with the negotiation," Iqbal said.

Last Thursday, Aquino flew unannounced to Tokyo, Japan to meet MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in what Malacañang spokesmen described as an effort to "fast-track" peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the MILF.

Sulu Congressman Tupay Loong said the MILF proposal would mean there would be "two systems of government in one sovereign country."

"They want to improve the existing autonomy because, according to them, what they have is not the real autonomy. Tingin nila hindi meaningful. Maraming kulang," he said.

He commended both the MILF and President Aquino for meeting in Tokyo. He said the meeting signifies the sincerity of both parties to end the conflict in Mindanao.

"It gives hope to all of us Muslims in this country. This grand gesture manifests that the issue in Mindanao is something personal to the President. His personal touch on this issue showed his sincerity to attain lasting peace in Mindanao," he said.

"We must erase all doubts on the intentions of the president. It will not help in nay way. It will bring divisiveness to our people," he added.
 
Justice Committee Vice Chair and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas, however, said the idea of a separate government is not permissible under the Constitution.

"That is not provided by the Constitution. It will be challenged in the Supreme Court and the SC will just declare it unconstitutional," he said.

He added: "Sa sinasabi nilang kulang ang autonomy sobra pa nga eh."

He cited the recent developments in Maguindanao where a few families reign over the region.

"They have been given a wrong sense of impunity. Dahan-dahan muna, autonomy muna. Nakakatakot din. Absolute power corrupts absolutely," he said. With a report from Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News