Kris Aquino gifts wife of MILF chief

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05:34 PM December 16th, 2012

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December 16th, 2012 05:34 PM

Kris Aquino. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines—As government and Moro rebels pursue peace through negotiations, President Aquino’s sister Kris is taking steps to befriend the family of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief Murad Ebrahim.

Kris had a “special gift” delivered, through the government peace panel, to Murad’s wife, Hadja Lupia Ebrahim.

The gift is a framed and autographed photo of Kris with an entourage of MILF women who came to Malacañang Palace last Oct. 15 for the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

Like the MILF leaders who trooped to the Palace that day, these women were setting foot into the country’s seat of power for the first time.

“Ms. Aquino had thoughtfully remembered her charming encounter with the MILF ladies at the signing of the Framework Agreement in Malacañang last October 15,” chief government negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said in a statement.

Before delivering his address at the Oct. 15 signing rites, Murad had acknowledged Kris from among the special guests who were invited to witness the historic occasion.

The dignitaries included Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, Organization of Islamic Cooperation secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihasanoglu, the diplomatic community, and top leaders of government.

During the opening of the 34th exploratory meeting of the peace panels in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday, Coronel-Ferrer asked MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal to deliver the gift to Murad’s family in behalf of Kris.

Coronel-Ferrer added that the government panel also assembled other photos from the signing ceremony as souvenir for Murad himself.

Coronel-Ferrer said they did not know at first what the gift was all about because they were only asked to pick up a package at the Palace and was further instructed to bring it to Kuala Lumpur for the current meeting.

She said that in this phase of the talks, the 15th under the Aquino administration, government brought “a fortified team… that has worked tirelessly with the different agencies the last three weeks” to muster a final position on the issues of power-sharing, wealth-sharing and normalization.

“The wide range of government offices involved in our meetings here and in the Philippines indicates the high level of support the peace process with the MILF enjoys in the whole government under President Aquino’s leadership,” Coronel-Ferrer stressed.

“It reflects the firm determination of the bureaucracy… to finish the work,” she added.

At the start of the meeting, Coronel-Ferrer assured that government was ready to wrap up negotiations on power-sharing.

The parties have set the yearend as deadline for crafting a comprehensive agreement.

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