Based on the communiqué of the OIC’s 12th Session, the OIC reiterates the need to resolve the issue of Muslims in Southern Philippines promptly; and urges the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MNLF to continue their efforts in order to find solution to pending issues, consistent with the 1976 Tripoli Agreement and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA), related to the autonomous region, revenue sharing, definition of strategic minerals, and the transitional mechanisms. Please read the MNLF PRESS RELEASE at ... https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8jmICP_buu1NUYxZGpnNFUxNkU/edit.
The Press Release above contains the following sub-stories: (1) OIC Orders Resumption of MNLF-GPH Talks, (2) Flashback: the MNLF-GPH Stalemate, (3) LGU Executives' Appeal Compelling Nur Misuari to run for ARMM Governor, (4) OIC's Stand on the MILF-GPH Bangsamoro Framework, (5) Kidnap Victim Parent(s) Visits Nur Misuari in Egypt, (6) Press Conference, (7) Major Disagreement in Bangsamoro Framework, (8) MNLF's Perfect Human Rights Record, (9) First Donation to the MNLF Anti-Terrorist Campaign on Abu Sayyaf, (10) MNLF is Aware of the Propaganda of its Enemy, (11) Profile and Needs of MNLF Fighters.
Below are the questions and answers. If you have questions, just email JohnPetalcorin@Gmail.Com or post your question as comment under the appropriate topic/post in MNLF Facebook Page. Thank you.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS PORTION
IS THE MNLF WAR AGAINST ASG IS AN INTERNAL CONFLICT IN MNLF?
QUESTION: Sir John, what can you say about a statement of Habib Mudjahab Hashim, chairman of the MNLF’s Islamic Command Council, who said that: “We would like to call on the authority of Malacañang that (this offensive against the Abu Sayyaf) is an internal problem of the MNLF. Internal, notwithstanding the fact that we fought against our former comrades who joined the Abu Sayyaf. They are Muslims also,” Hashim said. Read at ... http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/02/10/906938/nur-justifies-drive-vs-sayyaf
ANSWER: Some of the ASG's are former MNLFs, but not all of them, and we don't know the fraction. When you use the word "former member", it means the person is presently no longer a member of MNLF. The MNLF's citizens' arrest action against the ASG is not an "internal" affairs of the MNLF. Hashim says he is a member of the MNLF Central Committee, so I guess he should be aware that there was no such thing as "internal affairs due process" that took place before this MNLF's citizens' arrest action against the ASG.
I don't like the term "MNLF internal issue" when referring to ASG because it will create an impression that we have members who are lawless elements and terrorists.
I have read a lot of Hashim statements published in Philippine Star (government favorite newspaper) that is not good for the MNLF. But I would encourage him to continue what he is doing because I enjoy the exercise of detecting the propaganda of the enemy.
GOVERNMENT TO ARREST MNLF CMDR HAKBIR MALIK?
QUESTION: Sir John, I have heard a very silent rumor from a member of a Malacanang Press Corps that the government will file charges and arrest Cmdr. Habier Malik. What can you say about this?
ANSWER: Oh that's a nice rumor. I am surprised my contact in Malacanang Press Corps did not leak the rumor to me.
Well, all I can say is, Cmdr. Habier Malik carried the name of MNLF and he acted as an MNLF officer in leading his men to battle, hence, our statement will be:
"Large troop movements and assault operation of the armed MNLFs are led by Ground Commanders, always coordinated with the government, and usually in line with the responsibility of the members in a specific MNLF community to conduct a citizen's arrest against heavily-armed lawless groups, or to negotiate and demand the release of kidnap victims, or in hot pursuit to rescue kidnap victims and hostages; among others. We apologize for the inconvenience that this armed conflict have done to the community and we grieve for our fallen and wounded brothers. Nevertheless, investigating the actions taken by MNLF Cmdr. Habier Malik in this particular grounds-initiated anti-terror operation is exclusively an MNLF internal affairs".
Above is the MNLF Statement in short. Now let's go to detail.
I say "exclusive" because it would be impractical for GPH to conduct the investigation because they will never get a single witness testimony. If the government will do it, they will just be wasting a lot of government resources and lack of information may lead to injustice.
The MNLF have its own Internal Affairs (MIA) that conduct investigation aftermath any of its battles in the grounds or at sea. The members is an Ad Hoc, normally appointed by our leader UN Peace Prize Awardee Prof. Dr. Nur P. Misuari. The MIA will be properly selected to ensure there is no "conflict of interest", appointments are authoritative but confidential, and assigned only for this sole purpose of investigating the incident.
Cmdr. Habier Malik will surely be the primary officer to be investigated along with few others, especially the intelligence officer.
The time frame of the matters to be investigated would probably start documenting the precursor of the whole story. In this case, it would probably start on the day the first victim rescued was abducted up until this whole chaos is over.
There are many factors that the MIA will look into, such as but not limited to: (1) the chronological collection of bits of information that MNLF used in making decisions; (2) the chronological detail of the actions taken by Cmdr. Habier Malik; (3) the chronological order of coordination the MNLF made with the Philippine Government; (4) list on MNLF combatants mobilized and casualties; (5) accomplishments; and (6) rules of engagement, etc.
The MNLF have a perfect human rights record, the investigation will always touch on the human rights aspect that we call MNLF Human Rights Report. We would determine a run down of events that would merit protection of human rights and actions that are tantamount to violations of human rights. The MNLF Human Rights report goes up all the way to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and further to the U.N. Security Council and other International Human Rights Organizations.
The report of the MIA will be a basis for Nur Misuari to issue MEDAL, AWARD, COMMENDATION, or REPRIMAND. The MIA will also produce many kinds of recommendations. If the MIA would determine that Cmdr. Malik has violated Philippine Laws, we will refer the matter to the Philippine Department of Justice.
Regarding funds of the investigation, this is supposed to be funded by the Office of Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) because this is part of the Peace Process Activities (PPA). OPAPP has P400 million budget from taxpayers money every year. They have to use it for the right purpose. The MNLF will communicate to OPAPP to demand for budget for the MIA. If OPAPP will not fund it, it means The President of the Philippines is not sanctioning the investigation.
If OPAPP will not fund it, the MIA will still proceed with the investigation but the GPH will not get a copy of the report. This is what's been happening in the past, the GPH lacks information; that is why GPH goes nowhere and their big mouths to the media results to unfair publicity against the MNLF.
To end my answer to this particular question, please allow me tell you a very short story that I got from Facebook. It is titled, "Learning from Experience". I am not sure if the authors of this story is Robert Samson, Reynaldo A. Gorgonia, Jang Austria, or someone else.
A dog was so faithful that the woman could leave her baby with it and go out to attend other matters. She always returned to find the child soundly asleep with the dog faithfully watching over him. One day something tragic happened.
The woman as usual, left the baby in the "hands" of this faithful dog and went out shopping. When she returned, she discovered rather a nasty scene, there was a total mess. The baby's cot was dismantled, his nappies and clothes torn to shreds with blood stains all over the bedroom where she left the child and the dog. Shocked, the woman wailed as she began looking for the baby.
All of a sudden, she saw the faithful dog emerging from under the bed. It was covered with blood and licking it's mouth as if it had just finished a delicious meal.
The woman got angry and assumed that the dog had devoured her baby. Without much thought she beat the dog with a wood to death. But as she continued searching for the"remains" of her child, she beheld another scene.
Close to the bed was the baby who, although lying bare floor, was safe and under the bed where the body of a snake was torn to pieces in what had been a fierce battle between the snake and the dog which was now dead. Then reality dawned on the woman who now began to understand what took place in her absence. The dog fought to protect the baby from the ravenous snake.
It was too late for her now to make amends because, in her impatience and anger, she had killed the faithful dog. How often have we misjudged people and torn them to shreds with harsh words and deeds before we have had time to evaluate the situation?
This is called SIN OF PRESUMPTION Presuming things our way without taking the trouble to find out exactly what the situation really is. Little patience can drastically reduce major lifelong mistakes. Who Are You misjudging right now?. Don't think what you think others are thinking. Take time to get the whole truth.
"OVERRUN" IS WRONG TERM
QUESTION: Sir John, is it true that MNLF overruns two ASG camps?
ANSWER: "Overrun" is not the correct term. The correct term should be "Abandoned camp". ASG camps are not like the ones portrayed Rambo movies that has cluster of tents/huts, watchtowers, trenches, fortifications.
ASG camps are just like any ordinary sitio (small community). ASG mix up with the civilian population in the sitios, and some even have spouse and children in the sito. There were over 500 ASGs sighted in the area before the gunfight, all were scaterred in small groups (squads) embedded in many sitios. The civilians already left the sitios, some non-combatant ASGs (specially young boys) were already evacuated as part of those civilians. Those ASGs who decided to fight are the hardcore kidnapping operatives who have warrant of arrests and rewards for their heads -- a little over a hundred of them are escaping in small groups (squads) heavily armed with sophisticated weapons, 2-way communication systems, and night vision gadgets. The area is big, it's difficult for 2,000 poorly equipped and hungry MNLFs to form a fishnet operation. But they are just in there, all of them, MNLF and ASG playing hide and seek until the MNLF tires. We might pull out the MNLF very soon because anyway, the entire nation and the Philippine Government is UNGRATEFUL!
DID NUR MISUARI ORDERED THE MNLF ASSAULT AGAINST THE ASG?
QUESTION: Sir John, did Nur Misuari ordered the assault of MNLF against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)?
ANSWER: No. Definitely NO! 100% NO. Nur Misuari is in Egypt when events unfold here. I assure you, Nur Misuari is a man of peace.
Cmdr. Malik and his men went to the ASG-set location to receive kidnapped victims who are earlier volunteered to be released by the ASG to the MNLF. Misunderstanding (that MNLF did not expect) led to a gunfight. MNLF run to one direction, ASG run to the opposite direction, in separate ways. ASG regrouped to smaller units in a retreating formation. MNLF regrouped into strategic units to get back and pursue the ASG in an offensive assault maneuver. The hot pursuit of the MNLF after the ASG resulted to a lot of encounters in scattered areas. That is the overview of the story.
We are yet to conduct an investigation as to:
(1) Why Cmdr. Malik moved a large armed troop of the MNLF despite election gun ban? Did he follow the mandatory coordination procedure with the AFP/PNP?
(2) What caused the misunderstanding that resulted to a gunfight?
(3) Was there ASG treachery involved? Was the MNLF ambushed on the way to or on the way back from the meeting place?
(4) Were there MNLFs who are beheaded by ASG, if there is, were they beheaded alive or dead?
(5) How many MNLF died? How many ASGs died? Where exactly were they buried? How many are wounded? How were the wounded treated?
(6) How about the kidnapped victims? Who had sightings of them? If any MNLF recovered the kidnapped victims, how were they treated and processed after the rescue?
(7) Are there any AFP/PNP involved in the combat?
(8) Etc etc etc. A LOT OF QUESTIONS!
NEXT MNLF-GPH TALKS MAY BE IN INDONESIA
QUESTION: Sir John, now that we are ordered by OIC to resume the MNLF-GPH talks, where is the next venue?
ANSWER: We don't know yet. But last 9 Feb 2012, as we all walked towards separate ways after the Press Conference, Nur Misuari turned around and told me "MNLF-GPH talks, Indonesia tayo para malapit lang"; and I replied "Sige, okay, Inshalah". So, maybe Indonesia. Our problem is not the venue of the talks, we can go anywhere. Our problem is travel funds for our delegation of technical consultants, think tanks, and negotiators because the OPAPP is pocketing the funds for this purpose. With regards to negotiation on Strategic Minerals that went into a stalemate, we might tag along a foreign technical consultant, a scientist who knows about minerals -- the professional fee is expensive.
WHY SOMEONE GOT ANGRY?
QUESTION: Sir John, why is it some politicians and military got somewhat annoyed when news came out that MNLF has successfully recovered the kidnap victims?
ANSWER: Even though the ASG is no longer in hold of the kidnap victims, the ransom negotiators (politicians and military) are still trying out to negotiate with the family to attempt to offer their "intervention services" to collect a reward (ransom). They got angry because they can no longer negotiate the ransom remotely.
The people behind ASG spends a lot of investment/capital to have the foreigners kidnapped in the southern Philippines and keep them alive on a daily basis. Business-wise, MNLF rescuing the hostages is a big loss for the ASG capitalist. Naturally, they will get angry.
THE WORST NEWS BLACK-OUT...
The worst news black out is when the article about the success of MNLF's battle against the terror Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) that is already published is then deleted after a few days so that no one can ever see it again.
It appears that it is these politicians and military are the ones behind the take-down of the news article that says MNLF has already recovered the hostages.
SIR, JOHN WOULD YOU CONFIRM MNLF's RECOVERY OF THE HOSTAGES?
ANSWER: Someone of higher rank than me in the MNLF already confirmed that. The full detail did not flow to my level, and I am neither privy nor interested about it, so I cannot confirm. As I said earlier, we are yet to investigate the whole thing.
SIR JOHN, WILL THE TURN-OVER CEREMONY BE PUBLICIZED?
ANSWER: I am not sure if there will be a publicized turn-over ceremonies, maybe if I know you (media) personally I can invite you in the turn-over; but I am sure the turn-over will not involve the ungrateful Philippine government, nor will it involve those media who are unfriendly to the MNLF. No one in MNLF is EPAL -- the "wish" of the rescued victims and their family, and also security issues, will be the highest decision factor that will determine whether it's going to be publicized or not. There is tight security issue because the Philippine government is embarrassed about it and the Abu Sayyaf may have suicide bombers, we don't want to risk lives just to gain PR. When Misuari arrived from Egypt, we even conducted our press conference in a very secured manner -- inside the airport using only airport-accredited media. MNLF is on triple red alert now. Nevertheless, probably everyone would know later on in the future when the hostages are already in their homes (abroad) -- for sure they will tell their stories. You can also expect a story later on from the MNLF Internal Affairs investigative report of this event.