Tag Archives: MLF

Forgotten War In Philippines

In the mind of George Bush he invented the war against fundamentalist Muslims, but the reality is such wars have been going on for years before he ever became president. The southern province of the Philippines is heavily Muslim and for decades the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MLF) has been fighting the government in an effort to create a separate Muslim state in the southern region of the nation. The Filipino government finally reached an agreement to carve out such a state but the Supreme Court suspended the agreement. The result was war and conflict which caused over a half million people to flee for their lives.

It has now been found that many of the refugees were placed in evacuation centers that lacked basic necessities and adequate facilities causing the death of about 123 people. The lack of water has been terrible and it has led to cases of diarrheoa which caused many children to die. As always in these cases, ignoring prejudice and bigotry causes people to take up arms and then it is very difficult controlling the war that was spawned.

Philippine Government Dissolves Peace Process

The Philippine government over the past few years has been attempting to negotiate with Muslim insurgents in an effort to resolve problems with its Islamic citizens. President Gloria Arroyo announced yesterday she was dissolving the government peace panel which has been seeking to end the Muslim rebellion in southern Mindanao. Filipino officials made clear the president was ending negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front(MLF). “the president has ordered that the government peace panel for talks with the MLF be dissolved.” The MLF assumes ending the peace panel means the government will now focus on military action in order to achieve its goals of controlling Mindanao.

A key issue in the decision to dissolve the peace panel centers around an earlier agreement President Arroyo signed that would have turned control of Muslim areas over to the MLF. Some MLF forces attacked troops and killed about 100 which has infuriated the nation. It is still uncertain whether the president is merely using the time period to send more troops into the area or whether there will be a redesigned effort for peaceful negotiations. A major complaint has been failure on the part of Arroyo to involve local leaders and members of the Philippine legislature in the entire peace process.

Philippine Truce Broken By Both Sides

The fragile truce between government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front(MLF) apparent has been violated by both sides in the conflict. Abdurahman Macapar, Commander Bravo, issued a defiant challenge to government forces daring them to confront his men. “We are prepared to trade fire with them until we are decimated. If they cannot finish us, we will finish them.” Commander Bravo does not necessarily reflect the views of other MLF leaders who are working to establish a peace agreement with the government. Leila de Lima, of the
Commission on Human Rights, called for a ceasefire and accused both sides of truce violations. Ironically, both sides did agree to a ceasefire only to disregard their own signatures.

This is a war that has been going on for decades. UN and American diplomats urged the MLF to respect civilians and to adhere to UN guidelines on refugees. Unfortunately, there appears to be slight chance voices of reason will overwhelm those of violence.