Moro rebs staying the course despite restlessness—Iqbal
There is a “growing restlessness and frustration” in Mindanao with the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) but the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) assured a ranking official of the United Nations that it is staying the course on the peace process.
MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal on Thursday met with UN Undersecretary General Adama Dieng, who is also UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s special adviser on the prevention of genocide.
At their two-hour meeting, Iqbal and Dieng discussed the imminent security challenges in Mindanao following the failure of lawmakers to pass the BBL, a key component in the peace agreement, and exchanged views on how these security issues could be overcome.
Iqbal assured Dieng that the MILF is “fully committed to pursue the path of peace and would continue its engagements” with stakeholders, including the international community.
“We expect problems to arise in the coming days and we discussed, in general terms, what we could do to prevent these problems from taking place,” Iqbal told the Inquirer by phone.
The UN website said the special adviser on the prevention of genocide “acts as a catalyst to raise awareness of the causes and dynamics of genocide, to alert relevant actors where there is a risk of genocide, and to advocate and mobilize for appropriate action.”
At the meeting, Dieng also said both the government and MILF peace panels should “continue seeking the avenues for the implementation of commitments made over the 17 years of negotiations,” as he expressed interest on how the two parties would pursue the peace process despite the setback.
President Aquino will end his term on June 30, sealing a peace deal with the MILF but unable to secure its ultimate conclusion which is to create a new Bangsamoro autonomous region that promises to bring security and development to Central Mindanao that has been mired in conflict and poverty.
The Mamasapano debacle on Jan. 25 last year dealt a serious blow on the peace process, after the deaths of 44 elite police commandos were blamed on the MILF.
Then Special Action Force (SAF) Director Getulio Napeñas admitted he disregarded the ceasefire mechanisms in the operation to take down Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan because of his distrust in the military and the MILF.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.