Philippine Government, MILF Panels Affirm Partnership for Peace

Manila, Philippines, 24 Sya’ban 1437/01 June 2016 (MINA) – The Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have agreed to continue the peace process in Mindanao.

The government panel headed by Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and MILF peace panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal signed the “Declaration of Continuity of the Partnership” after a two-day special meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Monday.

Both panels sought to ensure the full implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in the next administration.

Ferrer and Iqbal also signed the Terms of Reference for the establishment of the Bangsamoro Normalization Trust Fund (BNTF), a multi-donor trust fund under the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Annex on Normalization.

The two panels also signed the Terms of Reference for the Project Board of the Mindanao Trust Fund for the economic development of six MILF camps.

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The government and MILF peace panels both congratulated president-elect Rodrigo Duterte and expressed optimism the roadmap provided for in the CAB will be fully accomplished under his term.

“The peace panels appreciated the statement issued by presidential peace adviser-nominee Jesus Dureza, who welcomed the forging of a declaration of continuity in the search for sustainable peace between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,” the government and MILF peace panels said in a statement.

The two peace panels also said Dureza has stated the intention of Duterte’s administration “to continue with the gains and build on those already done and achieved.”

“The parties expressed their appreciation to his excellency President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, under whose guidance and leadership, the peace agreements were signed; to his excellency Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak for his continued support to the Bangsamoro peace process; Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles and to the members of the MILF central committee and chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim for their commitment to continue the path to peace,” the two panels said in a joint statement.

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Both panels also extended their gratitude to Tengku Dato’ Ab’ Ghafar Tengku Mohamed as the third-party facilitator from Malaysia; and the members of the international contact group, third party monitoring team and the independent decommissioning body who attended the meeting; and the members of the other peace mechanisms for their invaluable contribution to the Bangsamoro peace process.

Issues of rebel groups

Meanwhile, the city government of Zamboanga City is asking the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to act on its request to provide guidance on issues in dealing with rebel groups.

Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar made the call in noting that Duterte is set to meet with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari in Sulu.

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Salazar said the government should allow the law to prevail on the reported plan of Duterte to meet Misuari, a fugitive.

Misuari is facing charges of rebellion for instigating the Zamboanga siege in 2013 that left more than 200 people killed, over 120,000 residents homeless and at least five villages laid to waste during 23 days of gun battle with government forces.

“What do we do and how should we act on this?” Salazar asked. (T/R07/R01/R04)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)