Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Vol. V,    No. 9      April 10 - 16, 2005      Quezon City, Philippines











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Copyright 2004 Bulatlat


A Special Report on Human Rights in Sulu: 

Waiting for the Elusive Peace
Last of 3 parts

To many of the Moro people – not only for the MNLF forces under the command of Chairman Nur Misuari – the government (GRP) has betrayed and continues to violate the 1976 Tripoli Agreement and the 1996 peace agreement.


MATIMBUNG, Sulu - “For seven and a half years to date, the Junior Cadre Officer Corps (JCOC) of the MNLF waited in high hopes for the full and proper implementation of the Final Peace Agreement (FPA) but in vain,” the JCOC stated in its manifesto.

The JCOC lamented that since the signing of the FPA in 1996, no significant development was ever felt in the poor Bangsamoro communities, particularly in the island provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Sometime in 2001, the MNLF split into factions—the mainstream MNLF of Misuari, which Ustadz Malik claimed that they are, and the Executive Council of 15 that is the breakaway group. “They are the ones who went out of the organization, hence, they are the breakaway group,” Ustadz Malik clarified.

All groups, however, pronounced that they are still covered by the FPA as each group has been embracing the peace provisions.

Yet, as MCPA put it, “The massacre once again demonstrates the military’s utter disregard for peace and civilian rights” noting that “If there was no other ulterior motive, the government’s potent attitude would have been remorse and reconciliation. But troop movements in the area proved otherwise. After the massacre, it seemed the military was bracing for large-scale operations.”

“The boldness of the MNLF to engage the government troops in a full scale war was the ultimate act of an enraged people who had long tried to hold back their discontent over the shameless and arrogant betrayal of the government to their cause,” MCPA further stated. “And as if waiting for the right cue, the MNLF’s retaliation has been used as pretext by the military to justify its call for a full-scale war in Sulu.”

In a public forum, Dr. Abdulrackman Amin, MNLF Liaison Officer to the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), cited some of the violations as such: military troop movements in MNLF territories in the form of regular military operations or under the guise of Balikatan Exercises; killings of known MNLF leaders and commanders; sowing intrigue and fueling division within the MNLF leadership and organization by electing the MNLF Committee of 15 -- an organ which was non-existent prior to the signing of the Peace Agreement; undermining the MNLF organization by trying to discredit and abrogate its position in the OIC; and continued incarceration of Chairman Nur Misuari and the conspicuous cold-shoulder treatment of his case.

The JCOC also demanded a separate MNLF formation in the AFP and pushes for the critical review of the FPA with a view to institute remedial measures to whatever flaws and shortcomings in the implementation of the process.

Meanwhile, the Kalinaw Mindanaw Fact-Finding Mission concluded that there is a “blatant disregard of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement on the side of the government.”

Long confronted with the demands for justice and lasting peace, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, however, ordered no ceasefire since the outbreak. Kalinaw Mindanaw said, instead, state terrorism is clearly manifested through the violation of peace agreements and the international humanitarian law.

Meanwhile, the women sector in Sulu calls for the end of military offensives and the pullout of military troops. “The war has sent psychological trauma to our kids and they can’t go to school now because most of the schools have been turned into military camps and evacuation centers,” they said.

“If they can’t govern us well, better yet, the government gives us our freedom and independence,” the women’s group demanded. Bulatlat 



© 2004 Bulatlat  Alipato Publications

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