Moro leaders present Aquino with `Gong of Peace’By Michael Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines–Moro leader Al Haj Murad Ebrahim handed President Aquino a “Gong of Peace” when they met Monday in Malacañang.
“A big smile from President Aquino as Chairman Murad rings the gong of peace ahead of the signing of the agreement” on Bangsamoro, tweeted deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.
Murad, leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, gave the gong during an unannounced courtesy call aired live on TV.
He came with MILF chief peace pegotiator Mohagher Iqbal.
The President, in turn, gave him a miniature “Bahay Kubo.”
Mr. Aquino had to do shuttle diplomacy in the presidential palace as he was also attending to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who came an hour ahead of the MILF leaders.
While waiting for Mr. Aquino, peace process adviser Teresita Deles and chief government negotiator Marvic Leonen exchanged pleasantries with Murad and Iqbal.
The two MILF leaders are expected to join Najib and Malaysian officials during a luncheon hosted by Mr. Aquino at the Kalayaan Hall.
The signing for the framework agreement on Bangsamoro begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Rizal Hall.