MNLF in Cotabato, Maguindanao saddened by Zambo crisis
COTABATO CITY -- High-ranking leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) based in North Cotabato and Maguindanao on Tuesday met with 6th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Romeo Gapuz and local government officials for a peace dialogue in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.
MNLF Yaquee National Task Force chairman Omar Abdulla said his group is saddened by the ongoing standoff between the MNLF faction under Nur Misuari and government troops in Zamboanga City.
Abdulla's group is also one of Misuari's factions based in North Cotabato.
"Hindi talaga kami natutuwa. Ang dami nang nawalan ng buhay, ang dami na ring pinapatayan ng edukasyon," he said.
The official also believes the Zamboanga crisis will not end with the use of guns and weapons but with peaceful means.
"Naniniwala pa rin kami sa 1996 final peace agreement, yun lang yung pinanghahawakan namin," he said.
Abdulla denied reports that they are going to have an alliance with the rebel group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
"May warrant of arrest yang mga taong yan, ba't sasali pa MNLF? Basta ako sa grupo ko, malinis ang konsensya namin.
Meanwhile, North Cotabato Governor Lala Talino-Mendoza said the peace dialogue is just a manifestation that there are MNLF commanders under Misuari who are willing to be on the government's side.
"Di tayo masaya sa nangyari sa Zamboanga pero masaya tayo na di mangyayari yung nangyari sa Zamboanga sa North Cotabato, Cotabato City and even Maguindanao," Talino-Mendoza said.
MNLF Western Mindanao Revolutionary Committee commander Datuwata Adziz Utto, likewise, said they are still following and supporting Misuari but not the way the group attacked Zamboanga City.
Utto said there are other ways to resolve a problem.
"Kahit na siya yung leader namin, di pa rin kami gagawa ng ikakagulo ng mga lugar dito sa Mindanao. Kung sino man ang gumawa ng kaguluhan na walang pahintulot, kami mismo makakalaban," he said.
The peace dialogue was done through the initiative of North Cotabato officials and Gapuz.
Last Saturday, a peace and security summit was also held by 6th Infantry Division officers and Maguindanao provincial officials headed by Governor Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu.