MILF: Abu Sayyaf, BIFF joining ISIS not a threat

luwaran.com editorial logoThe report that some 100 elements of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and so-called Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) have travelled to the Middle East and joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is very unlikely.

The MILF has no verified report about it. In our view, there is more loss than gain for the two groups in joining the ISIS.

For us, the threat is not in the two groups’ joining the ISIS. Their number is too tiny to be felt and make a difference. The ISIS is overflowing with volunteers from all over the world, including those from the United States, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia.

The threat really comes from the extremism espoused by the ISIS. Ideas are contagious and infectious. Wild ideas are attractive to those who want adventures and pre-occupied with hatred and revenge. The ISIS, we suppose, is not short of people who are like those Europeans who joined the Crusades in the 13th century to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims, who were described as “infidels” by Christendom.

The MILF condemns barbarism and savagery whether done by other groups including the ISIS or even by its own members. Neither are we justifying the advent of the ISIS. That is not for the MILF to dip our fingers into. But it is a fact that the Arab countries suffered humiliatingly from the evil machinations of Western countries. Iraq was invaded to get rid of a dictator, Saddam Hussein, and to seize his nuclear weapons, which were not there. Nobody cried for the ouster and death of Saddam. But the real reasons for the invasion were concealed, i.e., to seize control of the Iraqi oil and as a protection for Israel, which is the spoiled brat of the Western world. What did the Iraqis get in return? Nothing, but bloodshed, destruction, anarchism. Who are at fault? The one that created the troubles now or those who planted the seeds of enmity and violence? The answer is, both, but who is the main culprit?

Relatedly, it is to be admitted that the process to make real the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is its defining moment. The BBL has already been submitted, not just to the Office of the President (OP), but on August 20 to President Benigno Aquino III, who is expected to review it in the light of the letter and spirit of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and its four Annexes, plus the Addendum on the Bangsamoro Waters.

We don’t doubt the President will exercise his powers of review diligently, fairly, and fully conscious that the BBL should and must address a problem, the Moro Question, and put it to rest forever. This is our conviction.

In short, what we mean is that the BBL we envision is one that complies with the flexibility of the Constitution and, more importantly, one that will lead to the resolution of this question. Short of this, the road ahead is not easy to contemplate on.

It is this high hope for the passage of a good BBL and the fear for not being able to realize it for whatever reason that the ISIS’ virus is much to be feared. Surely, the current leadership of the MILF, which is matured, experienced, and reasonable — and has done and is doing everything feasible to succeed in this peace undertaking — will no longer be in control of everything. Frankly, it is the power, moderating line, and influence of the MILF that hinders the birth of a truly strong radical group in Mindanao. Without the MILF, it would be free-for-all in Mindanao. God forbid!

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