by Mario J. Mallari
Published in tribune.net.ph
The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) yesterday renounced the use of violence by the Islamic State, formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as it confirmed recruitment of Filipino Muslims by IS in Mindanao.
Lawyer Emmanuel Fontanilla, spokesman of the MNLF, said the MNLF will never resort to violence, just like what Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi-led IS is now propagating in Iraq, in its pursuit for Bangsamoro Republik.
“We oppose the Islamic State because the MNLF renounces the use of violence,” Fontanilla told The Daily Tribune.
According to Fontanilla, they have received information of recruitment by IS in Mindanao areas.
“We have received reports that there is (recruitment) but we cannot pinpoint what areas,” said Fontanilla
Earlier, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said that there were Filipino Muslims from Davao who were recruited by the IS.
Prior to this, former President Ramos revealed that about 100 Filipino Muslims have travelled to the Middle East to train with IS to become jihadists.
In spite of Duterte’s and Ramos’ confirmation of IS recruitment, the military has yet to validate such information.
The IS, which is the subject of United States air strikes in Iraq, now controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria. The group was tagged in brutalities against minorities in Iraq and claimed to have beheaded American journalist James Foley.
Fontanilla stressed that while the MNLF continues to pursue Bangsamoro Republik, the group will only use peaceful means.
The MNLF, Fontanilla said, does not want a repeat of the 1970s in Mindanao where several towns were burned down during the conflict.
“We will never agree to such kind of approach. We will never allow that kind of situation in Mindanao…we will never resort to violence,” said Fontanilla
“It’s unproductive. It’s a no win situation, it’s like you are entering a boxing match and you’re punching yourself,” he added.
Fontanilla emphasized that the MNLF leadership has reminded its ranks against the propagation of IS ideals.