The MNLF forms the first political party


Senior leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front led by Muslimin Sema, members of parliament from Bangsamoro, Romeo Sema and Hatimil Hassan, launched their very first political party known as BAPA on Saturday January 8, 2022 in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

CITY OF COTABATO: The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) launched its first political party, the Bangsamoro Party (BAPA), in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, on January 8.

Still in the process of finalizing its peace agreement with the government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) since 1996, “the MNLF is now ready to engage in a peaceful and participatory policy,” according to Muslimin Sema, who heads a faction of the MNLF.

The launch of the MNLF political party brought together senior leaders of the group from Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Maguindanao and the four provinces of the region 12.

“We will now be active in a peaceful and participatory type of policy to advance our peace and development program in accordance with our peace agreement of September 2, 1996 with the national government,” Sema said.

The symbolic rite took place at Camp Ebrahim Sema of the MNLF in the municipality of Datu Odin Sinsuat, the scene of deadly clashes between MNLF guerrillas and government security forces in the 1970s until the early 1980s.

Among the senior MNLF officials who graced the activity were three Basilan members of the Interim Regional Parliament of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or BARRM – Hatimil Hassan, Muslimin Jakilan and Abdulmuhmin Mujahid, who is an Islamic theologian.

MNLF leaders stressed that the newly launched BAPA will be a strong supporter of the BARMM government, whose chief minister, Ahod Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, is the chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The MNLF reached a September 2, 1996 peace accord with the GRP negotiated by the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, a bloc of more than 50 Muslim countries, including the oil-exporting states of the Middle East.

“Principled politics is the most sensible way to foster peace, sustainable development and progress in Bangsamoro communities in Mindanao. We don’t need guns to show the world that we are a community fighting for an identity, a land, a race and a religion, “Sema, a thoroughbred Maguindanaon, said.


Likewise, the MILF has its United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP), organized before the creation of the BARMM via a plebiscite in early 2019 in areas covered at the time by the late ARMM.

The MILF has entered into two peace agreements with the national government, the 2021 Bangsamoro Framework Agreement and the 2014 Bangsamoro Comprehensive Agreement. These paved the way for the replacement in 2019 of the autonomous region of Muslim Mindanao by a BARMM with more administrative powers.

Sema, former mayor of Cotabato town for three terms, said BAPA will be their vehicle to achieve the peace and development goals of their now 25-year final peace pact with the national government.

Hassan, a member of the Yakan ethnicity, who is a senior member of the 80-seat BARMM parliament, said a lot needs to be done to achieve full implementation of the MNLF’s September 2, 1996 peace pact with the government. national.

He said they are optimistic that BAPA can accelerate the process through peaceful political activities aimed at increasing the dividends of the government’s peace agreement with the MNLF.


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