MANILA, Philippines?The government has indicated its openness to talk regional autonomy and constitutional change in a draft peace agreement it had presented to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), officials said Thursday.
The government panel and its MILF counterpart last Wednesday swapped draft agreements in Kuala Lumpur in a fresh start of negotiations aimed at hammering out a final deal by June.
Foreign Undersecretary Rafael Seguis said the draft spelled out ?executive doables,? including proposed legislation to strengthen regional autonomy, and openness to hear MILF proposals for constitutional change. He did not elaborate.
?The GRP draft is clear that discussions that will concern legislative and other policy actions will still be proposals which would be submitted to Congress,? the chief government negotiator said in a statement.
He stressed that the draft did not mention anything about a ?Bangsa Moro? substate.
Seguis said the government draft was compliant with the Constitution, and was guided by the Supreme Court ruling on the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain.
The deal, which sought to expand the Bangsamoro territory, was struck down as unconstitutional by the high tribunal.
Seguis said that the government and the MILF just emerged from a ?long hiatus? in the peace process, and were about to ?start discussions on the substantive issues of the negotiations.?
?I wish to clarify that there is no agreement yet. Both sides are still in the early stages of discussing each other?s position papers,? he said.
The Inquirer tried but failed to reach Seguis by phone.
?It is the position of the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) at this point that because of the ongoing process of negotiation and discussion, they would like to keep this off the table, for now, and then wait until there?s a clear resolution on the issues before they can make the talk about this topic on executive doables,? said Undersecretary Gary Olivar, deputy presidential spokesperson.