MILF, MNLF unite to promote peace

Members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have heeded President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s call for unity by agreeing to be part of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), Malacanang announced on Sunday.

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles hailed the development as historic.

The BTA is the interim government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. lauded the President for making the Bangsamoro a top priority of his administration.

“It has been a long time since the MNLF and the MILF have split but under the Marcos administration, they are one in pushing for sustainable peace and development in the Bangsamoro,” Galvez said.

Appointed by the President, the BTA is an 80-member governing body tasked to pass crucial legislations to operationalize the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) and exercise legislative and executive powers during the region’s transition period.

The BOL specifies that the MILF shall lead the BTA without prejudice to the participation of the MNLF.

The BTA’s 41 members shall be nominated by the MILF, while the remaining 39 members shall be endorsed by the Government of the Philippines (GPH).

“With the joining of the MNLF and the MILF, and with the ‘balanced’ and equitable composition of the 39 GPH nominees… this is now no longer just the BTA of the old BARMM but the BTA of a ‘United BARMM,’” Galvez declared.

The participation of the MNLF under the leadership of Chair Nur Misuari is a product of the convergence effort of the OPAPRU to harmonize the Bangsamoro peace agreements that include the 1976 Tripoli, the 1996 Final Peace Agreements, and the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

Among the new members of the BTA are Abdulkarim Misuari and Nurrheda Misuari, son and daughter of the MNLF chieftain.

“The joining of the MNLF of Chair Nur Misuari with the MILF-led BTA is auspicious and heralds a significant step towards unity in the BARMM,” Galvez pointed out.

The ratification of the Republic Act 11054 or the BOL through a plebiscite held in 2019 paved the way for the creation of the BARMM, as well as the establishment of the BTA.

In 2021, former President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11593 which postponed elections in BARMM that were scheduled to be held this year, and consequently, extended the transition period of the BTA to 2025.


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