Gov’t, Moro rebels won’t give up peace
Peace negotiators from the government and the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front concluded a two-day special meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Friday, still determined to see the peace process through with a so-called “Bangsamoro Law” to be approved in the next administration.
Although disappointed with the nonpassage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by the 16th Congress, the two parties reaffirmed their “commitment to the peace process and preserve the gains of more than 17 years of negotiations and the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).”
The peace panels stressed that the CAB, the peace agreement signed by the government and the MILF in March 2014, continues to provide a “viable roadmap and comprehensive approach toward resolving armed conflict in Mindanao.”
“The parties recognize that the nonpassage of the BBL has adversely affected the timeline of establishing the Bangsamoro entity. They agreed that the means forward is the early passage of the legislation in the next administration and Congress, which is a requirement for implementation of significant aspects of the CAB, including the decommissioning of MILF weapons and combatants. Toward this end, the parties shall exert further efforts to promote understanding and greater acceptability of the proposed basic law,” they said.
The joint statement was signed by government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and MILF chief negotiator, Mohagher Iqbal.
Ghafar Mohamed, the representative of third party facilitator Malaysia, witnessed the signing.
The parties renewed the mandate of the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (Ahjag) until March 31, 2017.
The Ahjag, they said, is a mechanism that has “proven time and again its importance in isolating and interdicting criminal syndicates or kidnap-for-ransom groups and terrorist groups operating in Mindanao.”
The mandate of the Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT), which monitors the ceasefire between the government and the MILF, was also renewed until 2017. The parties discussed updates from the TPMT and the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB).
“The parties also agreed that the socio-economic package for the initial 145 decommissioned MILF combatants should continue. Meanwhile, the parties discussed the security and storage of the turned-over weapons,” the joint statement said.
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