MORO Islamic Liberation Front Chairman Al Hajj Ebrahim Murad said the peace deal between the government and rebel Moro groups, including the MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front, will help thwart the increasing influence of the Islamist group ISIS in Mindanao.
“If this process will not prosper, it is difficult to hold back young people from joining ISIS-inspired groups,” Murad said in a television interview.
Murad admitted that while they cannot confirm yet whether there are groups in the Philippines that are really tied up with the terror group, there are some groups in the country which is “inspired by ISIS.”
“Small [breakaway] groups can survive now because they have the support of the people. The people still have grievances,” Murad said, referring to the failed Bangsamoro Basic Law whose passage was rammed in Congress.
“Small groups cannot sabotage it [new peace agreement] without the support of the people,” he added.
The MILF, who returned to the implementation table with the government to pursue its Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, has set up a special group that will counter the possibility of ISIS-related groups entering Philippines.
“They [breakaway groups] can capitalize on the grievances of the people. That is what we are trying to counter now,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has proposed the creation of sea lanes in the common boarders of Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia to monitor and identify navigators in the southern water.
This was disclosed by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza upon his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 following his official visit in Kuala Lumpur.
During a meeting with the government peace panel in Malaysia, Dureza said, Razak proposed the regulation of sea lanes wherein certain approved lanes can be used to conduct trade and those that are not can be deemed as hostile.
Anybody navigating outside agreed sea lane can be accosted and can be interdicted,” said Dureza.
Dureza said the Malaysian leader was optimistic over the success of (peace) talks, noting that a number of cabinet members of President Rodrigo Duterte came from Mindanao.
“The prime minister discussed the enormous potential of Mindanao and vowed to work with President Duterte, who hails from Mindanao, to deliver the island’s economic promise,” he said, adding that the meeting was formal yet cordial.
The sea lane, it said, would be protected and secured from others and “bad elements as we also strict in order to avoid this foremost borders to be used by criminal elements as we also mutually strengthen the flow of people from good service from port to port.”
Malaysia, Indonesia as well as the Philippines shared the common borders which are set to implement the sea lane for possible threat from the ISIS.
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