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Friday, March 27, 2009

Nur Misuari

Nurallaji Misuari
Born: 1942

Completed his education through academic scholarships at the University of the Philippines

He was a lecturer at the University of the Philippines in political science. In the early 1970s he was one of the organizers of the Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM) seeking for better treatment of the people of Mindanao by the Manila government.

The MIM later on paved the way in the organization of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The MNLF is the Bangsamoro united armed forces that sought for the independence of the Bangsamoro people and homeland that comprised Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan known as MinSuPala.

The MNLF waged bitter wars with the Philippine government from 1972 to 1976 under Nur Misuari as the Chairperson. The high morale of the MNLF freedom fighters forced the Manila government under late president Ferdinand Marcos to sign a peace agreement under the auspices of the Libyan government of Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi. This peace agreement is known in the Philippines as the "Tripoli Agreement". It should not be confused with the Tripoli Agreement of 2006 that dealt with the Sudanese conflict with Chad.

The Tripoli Agreement, in the opinion of the MNLF, has not been complied by the Philippine government. The provision that required Philippine legislative confirmation of many of the vital aspects of the Tripoli Agreement like ancestral domain, territories, and administrative system provide the Philippine government perfect alibis to dishonor it.

The Philippine Congress has been controlled by legislators who were against the very spirit of the agreement especially in providing meaningful autonomy for the Bangsamoro people.

Nur Misuari was compelled again to lead the MNLF in the arm struggle after more than ten years of patience and persistent protest on the Philippine government non-compliance.

He was in self exile in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia until Marcos was ousted and the Corazon Aquino government was installed in 1986.

The new Philippine government initiated another peace negotiation between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the MNLF. It was the administration of Fidel V. Ramos that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was organized. The ARMM was meant to implement the 1976 Tripoli Agreement.

However, because ARMM was created through legislative process, it was perceived by the MNLF to be lacking in substance in the implementation of the Tripoli Agreement that called for the meaningful autonomy of the Bangsamoro people. Nur Misuari as governor of ARMM was miserably portrayed by the GRP as inept and corrupt. However, studies by several international organizations revealed that ARMM as created by the Philippines Congress was not really equipped to provide meaningful autonomy for the Bangsamoro people even for those who are under the ARMM cities and provinces. Nur Misuari as a revolutionary leader became a helpless prey of the divide-and-conquer strategy of the GRP.

Nur Misuari has consistently voiced out his protest on the non-implementation of the Tripoli Agreement and including the latest agreement signed by Ramos administration. When Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) became President, Nur Misuari was ousted by the "MNLF Council of 15" and was forced to vacate his chairmanship of the MNLF. He was then subsequently incarcerated after leading an insurrection in the ARMM alongside his aides and former MNLF members.

It is believed that the ouster of Nur Misuari was planned by the Philippine Government through the Council of 15. Upon his ousting, Nur Misuari was replaced by a senior official of the MNLF.

Presently, the ARMM Governor is not a member of the MNLF and is said to be a violation of the peace agreement signed between the Philippine Government and the MNLF during the Ramos administration.

On July 9, 2007, a lower court Judge Winlove Dumayas allowed jailed Muslim leader Misuari (representing the MNLF) to attend a tripartite meeting in Saudi Arabia which will assess the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement between the Philippine government and MNLF. The MNLF accused the government "of failing to implement key provisions of the pact, particularly those pertaining to the development of conflict areas in the southern region of Mindanao". Misuari, however, failed to leave for failure to present a "sovereign guarantee" to return from the Saudi government.

On December 20, 2007, Judge Winlove Dumayas, Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 59, denied Misuari's petition for bail as he will remain under house arrest in New Manila, Quezon City. The court however, granted the bail petition of Misuari's 7 co-accused, at P100,000 each.

On April 2, 2008, former rebel leader, Muslimin Sema, mayor of Cotabato City replaced ousted Nur Misuari, as the new MNLF chieftain. It was the second time that Misuari, who founded the MNLF, was removed by his own commanders. On April 25, 2008, Judge Winluv Dimayas issued an order allowing Misuari to post bail, upon the instructions of the Cabinet security cluster.