The Philippines’ largest Moro rebel group should be given a chance to transform itself into a bureaucracy, its leader Murad Ebrahim said Thursday, after accusations it was imposing a “virtual dictatorship” over the new Bangsamoro region.
Leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front last week took their oaths as members of the transition government of the Bangsamoro region, where Muslims have won new powers.
Firdausi Abbas, vice chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front, said the Bangsamoro transition government’s three-year term term was “tyrannical,” as he called for an election within six months, instead of waiting until 2022.
Murad, the region’s interim chief minister, said Abbas was among those who drafted the law that created the Bangsamoro and provided for the three-year term that will allow MILF to “transform from a revolutionary organization to governance and bureaucracy.”
“This is the time for us to transform, this transition, so we should be given a chance,” Murad, speaking in Filipino, told radio dzMM beamed nationwide.
Abbas has threatened to establish a new faction in protest against the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, where 41 out of the 80 members were nominated by the MILF.
“I hope that it will not become a threat because, hopefully, he will realize that he is part of this, he is among those who drafted the law,” Murad said.
Abbas was not appointed by the government to the BTA although he helped draft the Bangsamoro Organic Law, added Murad.
An independent body is validating MILF’s list of combatants and weapons, a third of which will be decommissioned under its deal with the government, said Murad.