MILF ready to provide help to affected civilians in Marawi » Manila Bulletin News

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by Genalyn Kabiling

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is ready to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by the deadly siege of Marawi by the Maute terror group.

MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim made the offer during a two-hour meeting with President Duterte in Davao City last Tuesday about the “humanitarian crisis” in Marawi, the martial law proclamation in Mindanao, and proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

MARAWI CONFLICT – President Duterte views on Monday the presentation of Armed Forces Chief of Staff Eduardo Año (right) on the current conflict in besieged Marawi City, Lanao del Sur. At left is Special Assistant to the President Secretary Christopher Lawrence Go. (Malacañang photo | Manila Bulletin)

The meeting occurred a day after Duterte called on the Muslim rebels to join the government’s fight against the Islamic State-linked militants sowing violence in Marawi City.

“MILF Chairman Alhaj Murad Ebrahim welcomed the idea of PRRD for the MILF forces to help in extending necessary humanitarian assistance to civilians which are still trapped in areas of Marawi where sporadic fighting still happen,” a joint statement from the government and the MILF read.

“Modalities of cooperation would be established between the government of the Philippines (GPH) and MILF,” it added.

The two parties also vowed to utilize the peace mechanisms such as the Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCHs) on the swift and safe implementation of the humanitarian assistance.

In the same meeting, the President told the MILF leaders that the martial law in Mindanao was not targeting the Muslim rebels or the communist insurgents. The martial law proclamation is aimed at quelling the lawless violence and rebellion perpetrated by Maute Group and other ISIS-inspired terrorists, Duterte said.

“He also asserted legitimacy for the peace process and its continuity as well as the mechanisms established through the 17 years of negotiation with the MILF,” the statement read.

Duterte also called for the swift crafting of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law during the meeting with Ebrahim and other MILF officials.

“The President also discussed relevant matters on the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and urged the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to fast-track the drafting of the BBL,” the statement read.

“The BTC is being chaired by MILF first vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar who expressed confidence that the draft BBL would be completed by next month,” it added.

Also present in the meeting were Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año, the martial law administrator, as well as government peace panel chair Irene Santiago, Cabinet members and other security officials.

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