MANILA, Philippines - The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) is still alive.
What's more, the MNLF is still the only Moro organization recognized since the late 1970s as the only legitimate representative of the Bangsamoro to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Abuamri A.Taddik, a senior leader of the MNLF, made this clear in an email to the Manila Bulletin in the wake of the framework peace agreement for a Bangsamoro, a replacement for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Taddik, deputy secretary general for Military Affairs, MNLF-Central Committee, said the group has been silent since the 2nd Ad Hoc High Level Group Meeting in Bandung, Indonesia, in March 2012.
It was recalled that the review of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA), signed by GPH and MNLF, ended without much progress.
The MNLF even walked out in one committee meeting after a GPH official said the first and second phases of the FPA were already fully implemented.
"Now, the MNLF seems to be silent. But the silence should not be mistaken as its weakness and its death. The MNLF has still significant forces and still enjoys OIC recognition as mandated," said Taddik.
He called on the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) not to misread the MNLF's silence.
The MNLF leader said it would not be bad to be careful and be cognizant of what's happening.
Taddik also aired his views on the GPH-MILF peace process.
"Sad to say, it is a mistake in signing an agreement with the MILF having identical territory, the same people, culture and tradition and even religion by abrogating the 1996 GRP-MNLF Peace Agreement," he said, and then to be replaced with a new GPH-MILF agreement "without a proper convergence of the two fronts that are fighting the Philippines government for the same objective."
Taddik said for the MNLF the FPA is "not even 50 percent" implemented, but to the GPH it "is almost completed."
He said it is now 16 years since the FPA was signed and another six years of its tripartite review, but "there is no clear agreement, except understanding."
"So the MNLF combatants are nowhere to be found, many of them are in hiding, some of them have joined the ASG, others joined the BIFF and some organized a group of nefarious activities like kidnapping in Sulu and Basilan, Sulu, Zambonaga and in Central Mindanao and bombing somewhere are enough to show that there is something unusual situation that needs to be analyzed carefully by those in power," said Taddik.
The ASG is the Abu Sayyaf Group, while the BIFF stands for Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters under wanted Commander Ameril Umra Kato.