Philippines: Interview with Moro liberation movement leader http://links.org.au/node/2268
This is the objective of the struggle — self-determination. We want to regain the right to govern ourselves in accordance with our way of life as Muslims.We were once free people, prior to the coming of the Spaniards in 1521. Our ancestors fought the Spaniards for more than 300 years and they did not surrender. In the history books, we are called pirates. When we were fighting in defence of our homeland, our ancestors had to use the tactics available to them against the modern weapons of the Spaniards. Remember Spain was a superpower of that time, just like the US now.We became victims of history. There was the Treaty of Paris, under which the Spaniards sold this country to the US for 50 million ducats. And they included in this sale our homeland, even though the Spaniards never successfully colonised us.That is why there is the struggle of the Bangsamoro people now.
The role of the MILF is only to lead the Bangsamoro struggle. This does not mean that we will monopolise power after signing the Comprehensive Compact Agreement. We do not have that intention.In the proposed agreement, the wealth of the Bangsamoro homeland, above and below the soil, belongs to the Bangsamoro people. That means the right of the Bangsamoro people to decide which multinational corporation we want to operate our natural resources.
The reason why we want to exploit resources is for the betterment of our people who have been impoverished for so long. We want to improve their lives.We have many different mineral resources: gold, copper, coal. This place is very rich. If we have in place a God-fearing and righteous leadership, there will be minimal corruption. Mining revenue does not currently go to the people. Corruption is very rampant here. The funds for building bridges and the construction of road networks are diverted to other purposes by the politicians. That is why you see the appalling situation of the Bangsamoro people.