Monday, October 8, 2012

Peace Agreement Between Philippine Government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)

By Lilybeth G. Ison

The formal signing of the framework peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the attainment of lasting peace in Mindanao is set on Oct. 15 in Malacanang.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, in a press conference on Sunday, said the context of the framework agreement was agreed upon by both parties during the peace negotiation in Kuala Lumpur.

The Philippine government and the MILF "already agreed in Kuala Lumpur on the text for the framework agreement. This will be signed next week, tentatively set on Oct. 15 in Malacanang," she said.

Deles said the signing will be done by both heads of the peace panel -- Marvic Leonen for the Philippine government and Mohagher Iqbal for the MILF. It will be witnessed by President Benigno S. Aquino III, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, and the Malaysian facilitator.

"The framework agreement is in general principles and broad strokes. There will still be annexes that will have to be negotiated that will be part of the comprehensive final peace agreement," she noted.

"We will need to make sure that this time, it is implemented as worded," she added.

President Aquino, in his speech announcing the forging of the framework agreement in Malacanang on Sunday afternoon, said:

"We have counted two generations since conflict began in Mindanao, a cycle of violence that has claimed the lives of more than a hundred thousand Filipinos. Many solutions have been proposed and tried. We have had peace agreements in the past, but still our hopes for the region remained unfulfilled. The ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) is a failed experiment. Many of the people continue to feel alienated by the system, and those who feel that there is no way out will continue to articulate their grievances through the barrel of a gun."

He said the framework agreement "seeks to correct these problems. It defines our parameters and our objectives, while upholding the integrity and sovereignty of our nation."

The agreement also creates a new political entity -- the Bangsamoro -- which symbolizes and honors "the struggles of our forebears in Mindanao, and celebrates the history and character of that part of our nation," he added.

Deles said the main track of the agreement is the creation of the new political entity through legislation.

"The first challenge is for the Transition Commission to draft the law and to work with both Houses of Congress so that it will be passed," she said.

With regards to territorial issue, Deles said "the same core territory as the current ARMM plus a few areas contiguous to the area that had previously voted to be part of the autonomous region."

These are the six municipalities in Lanao del Norte and barangays in six municipalities in North Cotabato that had voted in 2001 to be part of the autonomous region.

No comments: