The historic decision of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), through the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP), to back the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo “is a vote for peace and progress in a large area of Mindanao that for centuries has eluded both.”
This is how House Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman assessed the “great impact” of MILF’s unprecedented move to support a presidential candidate “on the future of this successful peace project in this once-troubled land. ”
He said MILF’s support for Robredo will have a “domino effect” on the vice president’s local campaign in Mindanao because of the organization’s influence not only in BARMM but on the whole island.
“Ang UBJP at MILF na mismo ang nagsabi na si VP Leni ang best partner para ma-sustain ang kapayapaan na tinatamasa natin ngayon sa Mindanao,” said Hataman.
“Kaya naniniwala kami na ang endorsement na ito ay magkakaroon ng domino effect sa maraming lugar hindi lang sa BARMM kundi pati sa buong Mindanao. Unang-una na dito ay ang pagsuporta ng dating gobernador ng Maguindanao kay VP Leni,” he added.
Hataman also bared that while the atrocities during the Martial Law years played a role in the MILF’s support for Robredo, it is the certainty of peace in Mindanao under a Robredo presidency that clinched the deal.
“Ang suporta nila kay VP Leni ay may diin sa pagtingin sa kinabukasan kaysa sa paglingon sa nakaraan,” he said. “Yes, what happened in the past is a contributory factor kasi malupit naman talaga ginawa – towns burned, mosques pillaged at napakaraming masaker ng mga Moro,” said Hataman.
“Pero para sa UBJP at MILF, mas matimbang ang panatilihin ang kapayapaan sa hinaharap. What the future holds is more important, if the interests of the Moros will be protected, if the path of peace is kept, and who can this be entrusted to.”
Hataman called on the MILF to reach out to its allies and supporters even outside the region to also give the Robredo campaign a boost. The congressman expects more local officials from the region to come out for the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem during the elections.