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Gov’t, MILF peacemakers optimistic despite deadlock

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Despite the deadlock in their peace negotiations, both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) say they remain hopeful that they will be able to resolve the contentious issues, allowing the talks to “move forward” until they can reach a final peace agreement.

“While we move toward the final stretch of the peace negotiations, we remain steadfast, bolstered by lessons well-learned from the past, and committed to find just and sustainable solutions to the many aspects of the armed conflict that has crippled our country for many decades,” government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said in her Christmas message.

The official MILF website, Luwaran.com, said in an editorial titled “Grand Gestures” that while the talks are deadlocked, the two parties “will be able to settle this in due time” owing to their “goodwill and determination.”

The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, signed by the two sides in October, indicates a desire by both the government and the MILF to conclude a comprehensive peace agreement before the end of the year.

Before breaking off for the holidays, the Senate and the House passed resolutions in support of the framework agreement and the creation of a transition commission that would draft a basic law for the proposed autonomous Bangsamoro region in Mindanao.

Transition body

President Aquino signed an executive order creating the Bangsamoro Transition Commission on Dec. 17.

The commission’s work, the draft basic law, will be submitted to Congress for approval.

Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, sponsor of the Senate resolution that all the senators signed as coauthors, said the framework agreement was crucial to the attainment of lasting peace and economic development in Muslim Mindanao.

In addition to expressing support for the framework agreement, the House resolution acknowledges the work of the government and the MILF toward the establishment of an autonomous region for the Bangsamoro people.

The government and the MILF made strides in the power-sharing, wealth-sharing and normalization annexes to the framework agreement, but failed to resolve the annex on arrangements and modalities.

The annex indicates the steps for the completion of the Mindanao peace process, with the establishment of a transition authority as the ultimate step that the MILF views as “the real premium” in the peace negotiations, now in their 16th year.

The MILF wants to use its name in the billing for the leadership of the transition authority, but the government wants the lead to go to the Bangsamoro people.

Aquino thinking

“We do not believe President Aquino has this kind of thinking in relation to who will lead [the] Transition Authority,” the MILF said on its website.

“Even common sense would tell us that the accolade or reward must belong and go to those who invested ‘sweat, tears [and blood’ and not especially to those who rocked the boat when the sailing [was] rough. Otherwise, the whole idea is not really to solve the Moro Question with the MILF.”

The MILF met over the weekend to start choosing from its nominees to the 15-man transition commission. With a report from Norman Bordadora


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Tags: Bangsamoro , Government , MILF , peace process




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