Philippine Government and MNLF to Resume Talks

President Rodrigo Duterte and MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari.

Manila,  Philippines, 16 Jumadil Awwal 1438/13 Februay 2017 (MINA) – The government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) are set to resume their talks on the final implementation of the 1996 peace agreement.

Emmanuel Fontanilla, MNLF spokesman and member of the peace panel, was quoted by Philstar as saying  Sunday that they were just waiting for the composition of the government panel for the resumption of talks.

He said the MNLF would not be part of the newly formed Bangsamoro Transition Commission that would discuss peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front because the MILF would have separate talks with the government.

“The MNLF (members) in the transition commission belong to a breakaway group, they do not represent MNLF,” Fontanilla said.

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He said the resumption of talks with the government would be confined to three remaining unresolved issues for the final implementation of the 1996 peace accord, which was brokered by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

These issues are governance, wealth sharing and territory.

 

Issue of two peace accords

Fontanilla said it would be up to Congress to consolidate a law that would synchronize the 1996 peace agreement with the MNLF and peace accord to be forged with the MILF.

The OIC, in a resolution, has urged the government to link up the two peace accords to attain lasting peace in Mindanao.

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The 1996 final peace agreement between the government and the MNLF, represented by its founding chairman, Nur Misuari, was signed on Sept. 2, 1996 under the administration of then president Fidel Ramos.

That same year, the MILF, which had broken away from the MNLF in 1977, began informal talks with the Ramos-led government.

But a final peace accord has yet to be reached with the MILF. The current administration is continuing the peace negotiations with the MILF with the creation of the BTC.

President Duterte has also met with Misuari, who surfaced recently after going into hiding as he was ordered arrested by the court for the 2013 Zamboanga City siege.

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The MNLF has been originally demanding the inclusion of 13 provinces in an autonomous region in Mindanao since it started peace negotiations with the government since the Marcos administration. Then president Ferdinand Marcos did not agree to it despite the signing of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement.

In 1989, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was created under then president Corazon Aquino, who also refused to give in to the MNLF’s demand.

Misuari eventually became governor of ARMM from 1996 to 2001.

Former president Benigno Aquino III pushed for the creation of a more inclusive autonomous region as he described the ARMM as a failed experiment. (T/RS05/RS01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

 

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