FROM PHILIPPINE STAR:
BIFM: Struggle for Bangsamoro independence continues
By Alexis Romero Home Updated October 15, 2012 05:07 PM
MANILA, Philippines – The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) on Monday said that the Bangsamoro framework agreement will not bring peace in Mindanao and vowed to continue calling for the creation of an independent homeland.
Abu Misri Mama, spokesman of the BIFM, insisted that the real aspiration of Bangsamoros is to achieve independence.
“Tuloy pa rin ang independence para sa Bangsamoro (Our struggle for independence for Bangsamoros will continue). The Bangsamoro political entity is not the aspiration of Bangsamoros,” Mama told radio station dzBB.
“What they are aspiring for is independence, a constitution that is not under any other political constitution,” he added.
The BIFM broke away from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) due to some differences in policy.
Founded by former MILF commander Umbra Kato, the BIFM has criticized the MILF leadership for its alleged revisionist policy in abandoning its original stance of independence.
The military said the BIFM has about 400 members.
Mama said they would not use violence to sabotage the signing of a peace agreement. He, however, said they could resort to force to achieve their aims.
“We will not use violence to oppose that (Bangsamoro framework agreement) because that will be pointless,” the BIFM spokesman said in Filipino. “Pero gagamit kami ng dahas sa aming minimithi (But we will use violence for our aim).”
Mama said they are still waiting for the government to negotiate with them.
He admitted though that he has not read the 13-page framework agreement.
“We have a copy here but I did not read. Wala namang kabuluhan yan (it is pointless),” Mama said.
“As I said earlier, we will not commit violent acts because of the signing (of the framework agreement). We resort to violence because of our jihad,” he added.
Jihad denotes a “holy war” fought for the Islamic faith.
The BIFM consists of former MILF members who attacked civilians in various parts of Mindanao in 2008 after the Supreme Court voided the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD).
Hundreds of people including women and children, died due to the atrocities.
The MOA-AD would have formed a Bangsamoro Juridical Entity, which would have expanded the scope of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The new entity would have covered areas presently in Palawan in Luzon, South Cotabato, Zamboanga City, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, and Zamboanga del Sur.
The MILF has been asking members of the BIFM to return to its fold, saying it “is not a joke or a picnic to start a revolutionary struggle.”