Ex-Cotabato mayor reinstalled as MNLF leader
This undated photo shows Muslimin Sema.
Released via The STAR/John Unson

Ex-Cotabato mayor reinstalled as MNLF leader

John Unson (Philstar.com) - November 15, 2020 - 3:13pm

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front reinstalled Muslimin Sema as chairman of their central committee, replacing Yusop Jikiri, who died of cancer last month.

In a statement Saturday, the MNLF’s central committee said Sema, a Maguindanaon who had served as mayor of Cotabato City for three consecutive terms, was unanimously chosen by top front members to replace Jikiri, a Tausug.

Labor Minister Romeo Sema of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, who is also MNLF’s vice chairman for political affairs, confirmed this to reporters on Sunday.

Sema was named successor of Jikiri during a meeting of MNLF leaders from across Mindanao last November 11 in a function facility in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao, near Camp Gonzalo Siongco, where the headquarters of the Army's 6th Infantry Division in located.

Sema was a key negotiator during the crafting of the September 2, 1996 government-MNLF peace agreement.

Sema was also part of the MNLF bloc that initiated, along with Malacañang and the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, or OIC, of the contentious provisions of the group’s final peace pact with the government that both sides have had misunderstandings over compliance lapses.

The final peace pact between the government and the MNLF was brokered by the OIC, a group of more than 50 Muslim nations, including wealthy petroleum exporting states in the Middle East and North Africa.

In its statement, copies of which were distributed to media outfits in central Mindanao, the MNLF committed again to support Malacañang’s southern Mindanao peace process and assured to continue patronizing its final peace accord with Malacañang.

"We also assure of our dedication to work, along with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in the spirit of convergence and collaboration, in establishing a genuine, lasting peace in the Bangsamoro homeland,” the statement pointed out.

The MNLF said it is steadfast in its conviction that only by peaceful efforts can the Mindanao Moro issue hounding the Philippines since the late 1960s be solved to the benefit of all sectors in the Southern Philippine regions. 

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