Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari expressed sadness yesterday to what is happening in some parts in the southern Philippines particularly in Central Mindanao, saying that the war is unnecessary and unfortunate.
"This war is unnecessary and unfortunate because we only expose our children, our women to this scourge of war and it seems nobody is benefiting from this war," Misuari said in an ambush interview at a mosque in Barangay (village) Sta. Barbara.
Misuari performed here the Jumu'ah (Friday) prayer. He arrived here Thursday to meet followers in Basilan as part of his peace caravan that he has been doing since he was temporarily freed from detention in connection with rebellion charges against him.
Although he understands the feelings of his brothers about the failure of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), the MNLF chieftain said he believes that the peaceful means is more effective than the martial means.
"We should not be carried away by our emotion. You know in diplomacy, in a peace talks, in a negotiation, you must always expect for the worse. So when you get the reversal of your faith like that and then you react the way they did, you only add, augment or exacerbate your own problem," he said.
Misuari was referring to the incidents in North Cotabato, Lanao de Norte and Lanao del Sur provinces that were triggered by the frustrations and outraged of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commanders Umbra Kato, Abdullah Macapaar and Sulayman Pangalian.
At this point in time, according to him, the best way now is for them to continue to search for peace through the peaceful means to avoid any calamitous repercussion on their children on their women and civilians as a whole.
'Why do we have to fight when every time it's our own innocent civilians are the victims of this war?" he asked, adding that unlike before when they were just starting they had to fight for their rights, freedom, even decolonization and independence of their homeland.
But after the MNLF reached the peace agreement with the government in Sept. 6, 1996 when war-like means would no longer be necessary, Misuari said therefore they must not accept any provocation whatsoever.
"That's what I told our brothers in MNLF don't accept provocation, don't provoke and don't also play into the hands of those provocators who want to destroy the smooth transition from the present crisis situation into peaceful one," he continued.
The MNLF chairman furthered that in the case of the MNLF, the members have been so steadfast in following his advice to continue to uphold their peaceful way of achieving peace in Mindanao, hoping that there would be no more obstacles in the way of peace so that they can restore back their freedom.
Misuari's latest visit to Zamboanga was the second and the 4th leg of his peace journey, a sequel of his visit to Davao City, Central Mindanao, Lanao del Norte and Basilan. He intends to visit Zamboanga del Norte, Tawi-Tawi, Siasi, and Sulu in the next few days. HG