The Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) Commander Umbra Kato is alleged by the government to be a “lost command” of the MILF and is being relentlessly pursued by the Philippine military.
In this video interview done on Sept. 23, 2008, Kato, who says he’s the Commanding officer of MILF’s 105th commans, insists that he is not a “lost command” and challenges the people who says he is to texplain or define what is “lost command.”
On July 1 of this year, he says, the soldiers invaded his colleagues who are “living silently in their own place”. He says that his friends simply fought back.
He accuses the military of terrorism, saying that driving people out of their place is a terrorist act. He says that they had to fight back because they have nowhere else to go. If they go to Luzon or Visayas (the other islands in the archipelago), the people of Luzon and Visayas would be angrier as they would not want them (Kato et al) to claim their lands.
Here, Kato is alluding to the basic cause of the conflict – the people of Luzon and Visayas have occupied Mindanao and now claims it for themselves.
The interviewer asked Kato why the government put a price on his head – 10 million pesos.
Kato answered that it is an indication that the government has already run out of tactics to employ against him. They (the military) used air strikes, artiller, ground forces with heavy weapons and armored vehicles. “But we are still here,” he says.
Putting a bounty on somebody’s head is an old tactic used by the “enemies of Islam”, Kato says. He explained that even the enemies of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) had put a bounty on the prophets head worth say, 100 camels.
When asked why the conflict escalated to other parts of Maguindanao, Kato answered that he thinks it has been the plan of President Arroyo to start trouble in Mindanao to justify the non-signing of the MOA.