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It’s now or never for MILF

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It’s now or never.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) wants the peace deal with the government sealed before the term of President Benigno Aquino III ends in 2016, saying that beyond that would jeopardize the chances of having lasting peace in Mindanao.

The MILF also warned that any delay in the peace talks could lead to a resumption of fighting in Mindanao.

“The urgency of concluding the peace talks is in the minds of the MILF leadership. We know that the momentum is there but any dilly-dallying is bringing us closer to the other path,” the MILF said on its official website, luwaran.com.

“The truth is that if we cannot close this negotiation successfully during the administration of President Benigno Aquino III, we do not know what lies ahead in 2016. And more seriously, it can be a menu for more violence and fighting in Mindanao,” it added.

The MILF statement came in the form of an editorial, as luwaran.com is also the group’s official news site.

It was uploaded on March 24, after the postponement of the 37th exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur was announced.

President Aquino called for the postponement of the talks to give him more time to review the annexes of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).

The MILF said the “devastation” wrought by the war in Mindanao was the reason the MILF peace panel “refused to agree to postpone the peace negotiation in Kuala Lumpur, as set by the parties, or much more to change the venue.”

 

Sense of justice

“Without a doubt, President Aquino possesses this feeling of urgency too. Perhaps he, more than anyone else, we believe, because of many reasons: First, his sense of justice—as with his father and mother—that the Moros are a “wronged people” which requires not only cosmetic rectification but also an honest, fair, humane deal; second, solving the problem in Mindanao is certainly the best legacy that any Philippine president can impart and dedicate to the whole nation; third, he knows that without putting to rest the bloody mess in Mindanao, the Philippines can never take off as a developing states; and fourth, the war in Mindanao… is unwinnable by both sides of the equation. The MILF cannot win the war by conventional means nor can the government crush the MILF, which can always resort to full guerrilla warfare,” the group said.

The MILF said this rendered the conclusion of the GPH-MILF peace negotiation as urgent business.

“Any reason to delay it, even if it is predicated by a seemingly honest reason, cannot be given much weight. Like a professional boxer, once inside the ring, he cannot make any pretext; either he boxes or calls it quits—and loses,” it added.

So much more to do

The MILF also stressed that the talks were urgent because the Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC) only has a year and nine months “remaining in its 2-year life span, within which it has to write the basic law, among other functions, and to secure its undiluted passage by Congress, as well as its ratification by majority of the voters in the proposed Bangsamoro territory.”

The MILF called on “everyone including the international community” to help in accelerating the talks, but in a “deliberate and sure manner.”

Journey to conclusion

“Time is ticking away; once it has passed, we cannot go back anymore. We also call upon them to journey with us until the conclusion of these negotiations,” the MILF said.

Nonetheless, the MILF on Monday issued a joint statement with the government peace panel where they both said they remained committed “to continue the talks in an expeditious manner.”

The government and the MILF agreed to reset the 37th Round of Formal Peace Talks to the second week of April.


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Tags: Benigno Aquino III , luwaran.com , MILF , Mindanao , Moro Islamic Liberation Front , Peace deal , Peace Talks




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