The Moro people have experienced a big struggle in their mission to gain independence. This process has been simplified by the Moro liberation front, an Islam group that was dominant in the Bangsamoro region. . This group was formed in 1969 while its resistance activities began in the late seventies . Its motive was to control the Bangsamoro area in southern Philippines . To achieve this, it used tactics and strategies to fight both the local government and the foreign occupants who were claiming to occupy the region through military assassinations and other strategies . The government has tried to intervene but has not succeeded to curb it. Leaders like Muammar Gaddafi tried to come up with peace terms with the Philippine government but they did not succeed .This paper describes the formation and the operations of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) from 1969 up to 2011. Based on the works of various scholars and newspaper articles, it will illustrate factors that contributed to its foundation.
According to Ted Gurr (1993), Moro liberation has been faced by internal rifts within its leadership . This is one of the key reasons why the front has never been able to come into agreement with the Philippines government after all the collaboration tries that have been made . The main issue came up when the group broke up forming the Moro Islamic liberation. The new group declared jihad war against the government and all its supporters in 2000. Hundreds of people have lost their lives since the group continues to carry out terrorist attacks to gain independence over the governmental control. The factors that led to the up come of the Moro Islamic liberation Front are actually many. There is the need to go into the details of all the factors and thus come up with concrete solutions that could end the war .
The Moro liberation front was established in 1969 in the Bangsamoro region . This was after the Jabidah massacre that had initially occurred and it the leaders of the front aimed at getting some control over the region. To achieve their main objectives, the group carried series of terrorists’ assassinations and attacks with the aim of seeking some attention from the local and international governments . However, this did not work as they had initially hopes because the Philippines government retaliated by sending troops to fight back the group members . Through the help on Muammar Gaddafi who mediated the conflict between the Moro National Liberation front (MNLF) and the government, the group was given semiautonomous control over the region . However, the MNLF was still not satisfied with the agreement that was reached and it thus resulted into the formation of a splinter group, led by Salamat. The splinter group is what came to be known as Moro Islamic Liberation Front later in 1981.
The MILF strongly believes that the Moro people should be granted their independence without having to be ruled by the Philippine government . This was actually the main reason as to why the group was formed in the first place before the internal conflicts that led to its splitting began. According to Salamat, the group also wanted to retaliate against the jabidah massacre where the Philippine government was involved in the mass killing operation of military trainees. The group went ahead and recruited other military trainees who would help the Moro people to gain their independence . In 1935, the Philippines government annexed it illegally and carried out injustice activities by giving huge land acres to the immigrants .
Christian groups started dominating the area that was initially occupied by Muslims. The Moro people got the notion that the government was taking advantage to violate their rights and they developed distrust resulting in war . Because of the continuous attacks and clashes between the Philippines government and the Moro people, MILF recruited military trainees with the intention of fighting for their freedom back. This was one of the main reasons why the group continued to be very strong and it is currently consistent with achieving their main objective .
If there were negotiations made in the first place, then it is possible that the MILF would not have been founded . The founder of the group Nur Misuari states that the group was formed as a result of the rifts in the initial Moro Liberation front. After the mediation efforts by Muammar Gaddafi, the Moro Liberation front was given control over the region that initially belonged to them. This brought internal conflicts amongst the group leaders because some of the leaders claimed that the agreements were not justified and should not have been signed in the first place . This was the main reason why the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) came to be formed. The new group continued with the initial intention of fighting for the freedom of the Moro people and the leaders went ahead to recruit more members . The new leader Salamat, viewed the Moro Islamic front as being a traitor and weak. It vowed that it would not show any sympathy for the government or the supporters by using To achieve inhuman methods like terrorist attacks and assassinations.
To achieve their long term dream, they gave themselves motivation that the Bangsamoro land had been grabbed from the Moro people and they deserved to get their freedom back. . The Philippines government grabbed the land and gave it to the immigrants who were to take advantage of the area and deprive the citizens their freedom . This is especially indicated by the fact that the United States government does not refer the MILF as a terrorist group despite the various fighting methodologies that it makes use of.
Initially, the Bangsamoro area had been predominantly occupied by the Muslims. Through the homestead program the government brought in many Christians who replaced the existing Muslim culture in the region . This does not however necessarily mean that the Muslims were against the Christians, being replaced was their objection.
The people of Moro deeply value their cultural backgrounds and were totally against the fact that their culture was slowly being swept away by the Christians. Because of this, the MILF was formed to prevent any assimilations occurring to interfere with the Islamic culture . The fact that the foreign governments were presenting some form of interference is one of the reasons to support this argument . The fact that foreign governments fought the formation of the Moro liberation Front is an indication that the culture of the Islamic people was a threat already .
Through seeking independence, the group had the hopes of preserving the Muslim culture and to prevent any attempts by the Christian community interfering with it . Understanding the various reasons that led to the formation of the group can solve the existing conflicts. This is actually one of the recommendations that are passed by the foreign countries that tend to stop existing conflicts between the Philippines government and the MILF.
The MILF has so many impacts in both the political and cultural environment of the Philippines. This is shown in the manner in which it has strongly fought hard to advocate for the freedom of the Moro people . Even after the internal rifts that were experienced in the group, it went ahead and focused on its main objective of ensuring that the Moro people got what belonged to them. It actually declared Jihad war and had carried out many terrorist activities to resist against the forceful occupation of the Bangsamoro region . However, the use of the terrorism tactics had had negative effects on the civilians and they continue to suffer because of the acts of the government. The colonization resistance amongst the Moro people began earlier in the 18th century even before the region was occupied by the Philippines government. The Christians migrated in large numbers to the area, after its control was taken by the Philippines government and there was a large gap between the two religions something that led to massive dislocations of the Muslims farmers. According to the laws that had been set by the pre colonial government, the area was open to the public and a lot of land was used for military reservations. According to one of the scholars Thomas Mckenna, formation of the Muslim separatist movement had the intention of preserving their culture . He further explains that the formation of MILF was justified despite the terrorist attacks because they wanted to defend their territories and ensure that their culture is not eroded by the Christians who were already occupying the area in volumes. It is a surprise that the Philippines government does not consider this fact and continues to occupy the area even after the protests that have been carried out .
The paper touched on the various factors that led to the formation of the MILF group one of them being preserving the Muslim culture. The strained relationship between the Christian and the Muslim community is also a major contributing factor. This is especially because the Philippines government was bringing in more Christians and thus the cultural practices of the Moro people were interfered with. However these writers have not given adequate solutions to the challenges being experienced by the Moro people. The MILF could use alternative strategies to solve conflicts without affecting the citizens who are innocent.
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