COTABATO CITY— The Moro National Liberation Front—Council of 15 led by former Cotabato Mayor Muslimin Sema did not show up at the public hearing and consultation on Bangsamoro Basic Law last week.

In a phone interview Friday, Romeo Sema, executive director of MNLF Council of 15 said they opted not to join because “(T)here’s an existing policy from the MNLF’s Central Committee that bars us to join any sorts of public hearing and consultation on BBLuntil the Tripartite Review on the Implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement will be concluded.”

“It’s clear that we won’t participate unless that condition is met by the government,” Sema said.

Despite the non-appearance, the MNLF has met with the MILF in a meeting presided by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Special Envoy Syed Kassim El-Masry  last October 13-14.

“The MNLF and MILF finally agreed to operationalize the Bangsamoro Coordinating Forum and also agreed the Term of Reference. On November 12-13 we will convene again in Manila for further talks,” said Sema.

For his part, Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Rep. Rofus Rodriguez, chair of the Bangsamoro Basic Law Adhoc committee, lamented the MNLF’s snub of the public hearing, saying “As far as I know, the invitation was communicated to them because we want to hear their opinion also. Sadly, they never showed up.”

The MNLF and ground commanders were among the invited organizations to participate in Friday’ public hearing and consultation on House Bill 4994 held at Cotabato City State Polytechnic College, the second in a series of consultations and public hearing on the draft Bangsamoro law following an earlier consultation in Upi town in Maguindanao. (

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