MILF Not Endorsing Any Candidate, Too

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Panel Chairperson, Mohagher Iqbal
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Panel Chairperson, Mohagher Iqbal

Manila, Philippines, 10 Rajab 1437/16 April 2016 (MINA) – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will not endorse any candidate in the upcoming elections even if some presidential bets went to its headquarters in Maguindanao recently.

The 10,000-strong MILF stressed that it is keeping a “hands-off policy” on the elections because the candidates’ policy on Mindanao is more important than personalities, Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) reported, quoting Philstar.

“The official policy of the MILF is not only not to endorse any candidate, but more seriously, not to participate in Philippine elections,” the MILF said in an editorial posted on Lurawan, its website.

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“For us, what is most important is not the person but the policy he or she would pursue on the armed conflict in Mindanao and the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) if any of them wins the presidency. It is good to build bridges now than later,” it added.

The proposed BBL will implement the peace agreement signed between the government and the MILF in 2014. The bill aims to form a new Bangsamoro entity in Mindanao with enhanced political and economic powers and provide for its basic structure of government.

The measure is one of the priority bills of the Aquino administration, but Congress failed to pass it into law partly due to lack of time and questions on its constitutionality.

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The MILF said all candidates who have sought dialogues with its leaders have vowed to push for the passage of the BBL in Congress if elected into office.

The presidential aspirants who wanted to meet with MILF leaders were Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, former interior secretary Manuel Roxas II and Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Duterte visited the MILF’s administrative base in Camp Darapanan in Maguindanao last Feb. 27 while Roxas did the same on March 31.

“The five presidential aspirants Vice President Jejomar Binay, Secretary Mar Roxas, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Grace Poe, and Sen. Miriam Santiago are treated as ‘friends’ of the MILF. We make no distinctions between them,” the group added. (T/R07/R01)

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Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)