Talks on Bangsamoro to tackle crucial issuesBy Ryan Rosauro
OZAMIZ CITY—Government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) negotiators will meet anew in Kuala Lumpur on Monday to complete the crafting of four crucial annexes to a framework agreement that could end the conflict in Mindanao.
The annexes—which cover power sharing, wealth sharing, normalization and the transition roadmap—will spell out the details of a redrawn autonomous homeland or Bangsamoro for the rebels, who have been fighting for almost four decades.
Newly appointed government peace negotiator, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, agreed to a five-day meeting to thresh out the remaining issues.
Datu Antonio Kinoc, an alternate member of the MILF peace panel, told the Inquirer by phone that there was still a lot of work to be done.
Earlier, Coronel-Ferrer, who replaced former law dean and now Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen as head of the government panel, said it could take up to February to finalize the annexes and come up with a comprehensive agreement.
During Monday’s 35th exploratory talks, the panels are expected to resolve the issue of who should lead the period of transition from the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to the new Bangsamoro political entity.
In December, President Aquino created the Transition Commission, which is tasked to draft a basic law that would serve as the charter of the Bangsamoro.
But between the drafting efforts and the charter’s actual effectivity, the region will be run by the transition team.
The issue of who will lead the transition phase created a ‘technical impasse’ in the December talks as the MILF insisted that it should take the “driver’s seat.”
Coronel-Ferrer, who is leading the formal talks for the second time, said the government had already recognized this necessity although it had yet to work on how to formally put it.
In Cotabato City, the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team expressed confidence that the sticky issues would be resolved by the two panels and that a formal agreement would soon be signed between Malacañang and the MILF.
“We see light at the end of the tunnel,” said IMT head of mission Dato Abdul Rahim Bin Mohd Yusoff. With a report from Charlie Señase, Inquirer Mindanao