Kirams back Bangsamoro framework agreement
Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) - August 4, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The sultanate of Sulu is not against the framework agreement on Bangsamoro signed in October last year by the Aquino government with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), government peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said.

Ferrer said on Wednesday that Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and his family are not against the framework agreement but said the government should have allowed them “a better term” as regards to their ancestral claim on Sabah.

“Basically, they are not against. They just have to find a way to get better terms with regards to Sabah,” Ferrer said.

Ferrer, however, clarified the Sabah issue is something that will have to be resolved by the governments of the Philippines and Malaysia and the Kirams.

She said the Kirams feel bad because their claim to Sabah has not been resolved.

“We have to tell them that the peace (process between the government and the MILF) is not the table that will have to deal with that,” Ferrer said.

She said the Kiram family, as residents of Sulu, is also a stakeholder in the framework agreement  because the province will have to vote to be included in the Bangsamoro.

Sultanate spokesman Abraham Idjirani said the sultanate does not want Sulu to be included in the Bangsamoro region under the control of the MILF.

According to Idjirani, the Sulu archipelago was incorporated into the Philippines in 1935 by the United States, despite an assurance given by the American government that the Sulu sultanate would be placed under its protection.

“Despite the vehement objection of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III’s great ancestors to join the Philippines as an independent state, Sultan Jamalul Kiram III and his nine living brothers and sisters and all other Kiram heirs embraced the Filipino citizens without qualifications. They are not vengeful of the acts committed against them by the United States and the Philippine governments,” Idjirani said.

Idjirani said the sultanate is questioning the authority of the Aquino administration to hand over the Sulu archipelago to the MILF, adding the sultanate was not even consulted on the proposed inclusion of the Sulu archipelago in the Bangsamoro region.

“Under what authority, therefore, the officials and authorities of the Aquino administration discarded the protection of the sultan of Sulu to their ancestral kingdom in the Sulu archipelago? Like a hotcake, it would soon be handed over to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front without prior consultation made with them,” Idjirani added.

Idjirani said the sultanate sees the Bangsamoro framework agreement as a legal land-grabbing mechanism of the sultanate’s ancestral lands by both the Philippine government and the MILF.

He said turning over the ancestral kingdom of the sultanate of Sulu in the Sulu archipelago to the MILF, as defined under the Bangsamoro framework agreement, would prejudice its historical truths and patrimony.

“The territory known as archipelago of Sulu belongs to the sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo. It was recognized by the United States in the introductory statement of the 1915 Kiram-Carpenter agreement as an independent political sovereignty for more than 400 years prior to American occupation and rule which began in 1900, including England, Spain, Germany, Holland, France and China in 1405,” Idjirani added.

According to Idjirani, while the ultimate sovereignty was transferred and entrusted to the Republic of the Philippines, it was transferred without justice served.

“That is technical treason,” he said.

Ferrer, on the other hand, said they have yet to formally talk to the Kirams about the issue.

She said the government peace panel negotiating with the MILF is not the proper place to raise the ancestral claim of the Kirams on Sabah.

“No. It’s not our business. We don’t talk about it. We have many problems of our own to attend to,” Ferrer said.

Ferrer, meanwhile, said former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari can be arrested if he continues appearing in public brandishing a firearm while agitating his members to proclaim independence.

Ferrer warned brandishing a firearm could be a violation of the 1996 final peace agreement.

She said it’s good that Misuari has backtracked.

“He declares independence. He was the one who had been in the final peace agreement and that will be something, especially if he displayed a firearm. That will be a violation which can be a basis for his arrest,” Ferrer said.         – With Mike Frialde


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