Presdient Aquino has designated University of the Philippines professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer as chief negotiator for peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), replacing former UP law dean Marvic Leonen.
Leonen, who had headed the government negotiating panel since 2010, has since been appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Ferrer is a current member of the government panel that signed a preliminary agreement on Oct. 15 with Moro rebels as part of a political solution to end the 40-year-old secessionist movement in Mindanao.
The two panels are set to meet again in Kuala Lumpur this month to finalize the comprehensive peace agreement that would create a separate Bangsamoro homeland.
Her appointment was well received by the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process who described Ferrer as “a staunch advocate of human rights and an expert in conflict resolution and justice.”
Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles said Ferrer’s appointment “signifies continuity and harmony in the peace talks, which is crucial for the completionof the comprehensive agreement this December.”
The promotion, she said, was “well-deserved given her competence and credentials as a peace negotiator. She has been with the Panel since 2010 and serves as adviser of the technical working groups on power-sharing and normalization.”
“Our government remains committed to finish the comprehensive agreement with the MILF before the year ends in our endeavor to achieve just and lasting peace in Mindanao that will benefit all Filipinos,” said Deles, who swore in Ferrer to her post Friday.
The first woman head of the peace panel, Ferrer was among 27 Filipinos nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for being part of the “1000 Women for the Nobel.”
She is a member of the faculty of the UP political science department, teaching comparative politics and political theory, and was director of the UP Third World Studies Center from 2000 to 2003.
Prior to her entry into the peace process, she was convenor of the Program on Peace, Democratization and Human Rights of the UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies until 2005.
She also has extensive involvement in nongovernmental organizations.
She cochaired the Non-State Actors Working Group of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines from 1999-2004; joined fact-finding missions organized by international NGOs investigating violence in Cambodia (1993, 1997), East Timor (1999, 2000), and Nepal (2003).
The professor, a sister of Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Journalism Shiela Coronel, served as visiting professor at Hiroshima University in Japan, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Korea, and Gadja Madah University in Indonesia.