MANILA: The Philippines’ largest Muslim rebel group has condemned extremist jihadists in Iraq and Syria, and vowed to stop the spread of their “virus” into the South-East Asian nation.
After decades of armed rebellion that claimed tens of thousands of lives, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed a peace agreement in March that commits it and the national government to share power in the area.
The MILF portrayed its moderate leadership as vital to stopping the ideology of Islamic State infecting the southern Muslim regions of the mainly Catholic Philippines.
“The MILF condemns barbarism and savagery whether done by other groups including the ISIS or even by its (MILF’s) own members,” the MILF said in an editorial posted on its www.luwaran.com website this week.
“Frankly, it is the power, moderating line, and influence of the MILF that hinders the birth of a truly strong radical group.”
The MILF also said a planned Muslim autonomous region that is the centrepiece of the peace deal would be a bulwark against the ideology of the Islamic State.
The MILF urged President Benigno Aquino to approve a draft Bill to create the autonomous region, which was submitted to him last week by a joint committee of rebel and government negotiators. — AFP