Sure it does. However you really shouldn’t confuse a MILF with The MILF or the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
They are a rebel extremist group in the Philippine Islands, in the South China Sea. The MILF are fighting for increased powers for the Muslim community. Their original aim was the liberation of the Bangsamoro Land; an area to the south of Mindanao (the second largest island in the Philippines and one of the most important).
The MILF want control of the area returned to the Muslim people.
The MILF was officially formed in 1977 by local Moro Muslims in the area. Since then an estimated 120,000 people have died in the conflict between the MILF and the government. The MILF have kidnapped important government officials and other high-profile targets and have attacked security forces. They’ve also been responsible for bombings of civilians. Guys, could you not just sit down and talk it through?
The Philippines are made up of 7,000 islands, but most of the population only live on 11 of these. When the Spanish conquered the islands in the 1500s they called the locals “moors”. The word literally means “black” in Greek. This later merged into Moro. Nothing like a bit of casual racism to make friends and influence people.
The Philippines were given independence in 1946. However the area’s Spanish history is clear; most of the population are Catholic, apart from small pockets of Moro Muslims in various areas.
You mean, apart from having the awesome acronym “MILF”?
Well, The Moro Islamic Liberation Front are in the news this week. They’ve started handing over their weapons after peace talks with the government. In return the government will pay out 25,000 Philippine peso (around £350) to 145 members, designed to give them a chance at a new start in the community. Somehow I can’t see the British government following suit and giving cash to extremists.
In the south of Mindanao island the majority of people are Muslim. Thanks to the deal more powers will be given to them; they’ll be allowed to govern under Islamic Sharia Law. The Philippine government will keep control over foreign policy and the economy.
The deal with the MILF has taken around 17 years to succeed. Better late than never, I guess? But not everyone is convinced. The peace deal didn’t go down too well in the Philippine Congress due to a fight in January where many police were killed.
And despite the Moro Islamic Liberation Front having around 10,000 soldiers, only 75 weapons have been handed over. So, it may be a while before we hear the end of the MILF.