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MNLF leader laments entity

COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao—The leader of a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)  said on Monday he was badly hurt by the creation of a Bangsamoro political entity, which has invalidated their 18-year-old peace pact with the government. 

Former city mayor Muslimin Sema, chairman of the MNLF group in central Mindanao, said they were not opposed to President Aquino dealing with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which broke away from the MNLF, but Aquino failed to acknowledge the gains of the peace pact.

“We view with deep sadness and heavy feeling of despondency the replacement of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with the new Bangsamoro political entity,” Sema said.

“It is lamentable because the ARMM’s creation was paid in blood, sweat and tears of the Moro guerrillas, who fought for Moro people,” he said.

The 1996 agreement between the MNLF was brokered by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a block of more than 50 Muslim countries, including the petroleum exporting nations in Middle East and North Africa.

The agreement brought peace in Mindanao as 6,000 MNLF guerrillas were integrated into armed forces and 3,000 to the Philippine National Police.

Sema said that unlike the MNLF faction led by Nur Misuari in Sulu, his group was not hostile to the MILF. “We are not at war with the MILF because we have the same peace and development objectives for the Bangsamoro people,” Sema said.

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