World | Philippines

MILF fears Bangsamoro will be used by the government

Says there are growing interests of aid agencies in Bangsamoro

  • By Gilbert P. Felongco, Correspondent
  • Published: 13:20 February 2, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manila:The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has cautioned the government against using the Bangsamoro as a leverage to secure more funds from donor agencies.

“The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has made it clear as a matter of policy in dealing with the Aquino administration and foreign entities that any development programme intended for Mindanao should exclude the Bangsamoro to avoid confusion and to give justice to it,” Mohammad Ameen, chairperson of the MILF Secretariat said in an article posted on the front’s Luwaran website.

Last October 2012, the MILF has signed a “Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro” with the administration of President Benigno Aquino III as a prelude to a final peace pact. Along with the signing of the pact were statements of support from donor agencies that it will assist the Bangsamoro get an even footing.

Ameen said there are growing interests of many states and international aid agencies as well as investors to come to the Bangsamoro and take part in the rehabilitation and development of the new political entity.

But the front aired apprehensions that the present administration would be in a situation where it would use pledged foreign funds for its own purpose instead of developing Bangsamoro areas.

“In the previous administrations, the government had sourced millions of dollars intended for the conflict-affected areas in Mindanao, which were mainly situated in Moro-dominated provinces, but when it came to implementation those were rechannelled to other areas,” Ameen said.

“It is time the issue of Bangsamoro should not be dealt through the larger ambit of the Mindanao agenda,” he explained while stressing that the government should let them chart their own destiny.

Ameen called on Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa), to give weight and respect he position of the MILF on this issue.

The MILF official made the statement at the back of reports that Antonino and other business and political leaders of Mindanao had agreed to undertake the rehabilitation of areas in Central Mindanao which were damaged by mining companies and loggers.

During a press briefing in Davao City, Antonino said that the government will be undertaking the dredging and rehabilitation of the Pulangi River in North Cotabato and Maguindanao.

Ameen is apparently apprehensive that the government, through the MinDA will use the project to secure funding from foreign donors.

The Pulangi River is largely located in areas claimed by Moros as part of their ancestral domain.

Gulf News
News Editor's choice