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MILF vows neutrality in May polls in Mindanao

by Echo Park Community Coalition (EPCC) Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 at 7:16 AM
epccla02@yahoo.com 818-749-0272 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, Ca 90026

The EPCC NEWS gathered from news sources from Cotabato City that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has reiterated its apolitical stand in the May 10 elections, warning that violators will be dealt with under its own judicial system. “So far, there is no report of violation from the MILF hierarchy and its armed forces regarding the directive,” MILF peace negotiator Ali “Jun” Mantawil told the Inquirer in a roundtable discussion with Inquirer Mindanao on Saturday.

EPCC NEWS

February 22, 2010

MILF vows neutrality in May polls in Mindanao

Los Angeles— The EPCC NEWS gathered from news sources from Cotabato City that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has reiterated its apolitical stand in the May 10 elections, warning that violators will be dealt with under its own judicial system.

“So far, there is no report of violation from the MILF hierarchy and its armed forces regarding the directive,” MILF peace negotiator Ali “Jun” Mantawil told the Inquirer in a roundtable discussion with Inquirer Mindanao on Saturday.

Ghazali Jaafar, MILF vice chair for political affairs, in a December 29 memo, directed all political and military officers on the MILF “hands-off” policy in connection with the coming political exercise where the outgoing Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, President Macapagal-Arroyo, is seeking a congressional seat in her home province of Pampanga.

The Arroyo government and the MILF are bent on fast-tracking the formulation of a peace deal acceptable to both and has the approval of the citizens.

Mantawil stressed that relatives and other sympathizers of MILF members are free to participate and choose their candidates but officers and men of the organization are strictly prohibited.

Mantawil said the reminder was raised anew following reports of presidential candidates sending “feelers” to Moro rebel camps in Mindanao allegedly seeking support from the MILF central committee.

Admitting of such feelers engaging MILF endorsement, Mantawil said the front’s central committee has stood pat on its apolitical stand, saying, “We will remain non-partisan as far as the coming elections are concerned.”

The MILF claims to have about 200,000 armed and unarmed followers in Mindanao but police and military estimate place it at 30,000.

Jaafar said the MILF sees the country’s democratic system in electing national and local leaders as “divisive and acrimonious,” adding that the political exercise, most often than not, “creates animosities and intrigues and as a result failed miserably to produce the best upright leaders because those who usually make it are people who used gold, guns and goons to be elected.”

“The consequence,” he said, “is a corrupt and a strife-torn society because some of the funds intended for education, health, food, and other socioeconomic needs of the people end up in the pockets of unscrupulous political leaders.”

Mantawil reminded anew comrades in arms not to participate in political campaigns, rallies, deliver speeches on stage and solicit campaign funds.

“We are also prohibited from instigating trouble that would lead to violence and mar the election process. Any violator would be dealt with accordingly by the MILF judicial system,” said Mantawil.

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