MILF leaders meet with Duterte to discuss Marawi, peace process

May 30, 2017 - 9:40 PM
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Duterte Iqbal handshake
President Duterte engages in a dialogue with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and other MILF officials, including Implementing Panel Chairman Mohagher Iqbal. Photograph from Malacañang Photo Bureau.

MANILA – Leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) met Monday, May 29, with President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City to exchange notes on the humanitarian crisis in Marawi City reeling from the effects of the protracted armed clash between security forces and the terrorist Maute Group.

MILF Chairman Alhaj Murad Ebrahim welcomed the idea broached by President Duterte for MILF assets to help extend humanitarian assistance to civilians trapped in areas where there is still sporadic fighting in Marawi.

The modalities of cooperation would be established between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and MILF.

The existing peace mechanisms, such as the Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCHs) from both sides, would be utilized for the purpose.

Duterte assured the MILF leaders that the Martial Law declaration is not directed at the MILF, MNLF or NPA, but to quell the rebellion of the Maute Group and other ISIS-inspired terrorists.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año was present during the meeting, which was also attended by GPH Peace Panel Chairman Irene Santiago, several other high military officers and Cabinet officials.

President Duterte also underscored the legitimacy for the peace process in Muslim Mindanao, its continuity as well as the mechanisms established through 17 years of negotiation with the MILF.

Chairman Alhaj Murad Ebrahim was accompanied by First Vice-Chairman Ghazali Jaafar; Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) Chief of Staff Sammy Al-Mansour; Peace implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal; Supreme Shari’ah Court head Ustadz Khalifa Nando, and AHJAG Chair Atty. Abdul Dataya in the meeting that lasted for two hours.