Philippines: Moro group thanks Turkey for peace efforts

By Nilay Kar Onum

ISTANBUL (AA) – Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Philippines has thanked Turkey and Istanbul-based aid agency Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) for their contributions to the peace process with the government of Philippines.

In a letter sent to IHH, Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, the MILF chairman, wrote: “Thank you very much for all the help and prayers you, IHH, continuously extend to us and to the Bangsamoro Ummah, likewise the other NGOs, Turkish government agencies, the Turkish government and Turkish Ummah in general.”

Bangsamoro is a collective term used for Filipino Muslims.

“Your supports help us reach what we have achieved now in our struggle. Please continue to help and pray for us in the next level of our struggle, the rebuilding of the Bangsamoro nation and society,” Ebrahim said.

Stating that the new stage will be “challenging,” he wrote: “We direly need your continued support.”

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front had forged the Bangsamoro Law with government representatives as one of the requirements of the peace agreement it signed in 2014 with then-President Benigno Aquino III.

Turkey has been officially involved in the peace process with the government of the Philippines as a third party.

Huseyin Oruc, deputy head of the Istanbul-based Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), is one of the members of the team monitoring the peace process.

In July, Philippines President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The law provides for increasing the legal and economic earnings of Muslims in the region, giving more comprehensive autonomy to those living on the islands around Mindanao, which has a large Muslim population.

Under the new regulation, the central administration will hand over administrative power in Mindanao to the Bangsamoro government.

– IHH’s aid activities

IHH has been continuing its aid activities including humanitarian assistance and emergency aid in the region since 1996. The agency has delivered food aid to over 140,000 people so far.

The agency also continues its works to build schools, mosques, and orphanages.