PH govt, MILF hope to finish agreement

Rappler.com
The Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are both pushing to finalize a Framework Agreement in the latest round of peace talks

GAINS. Marvic Leonen (L), chair of the Philippine government panel, and Mohagher Iqbal (R), chief negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), shake hands at the end of the 31st round of Formal Exploratory Talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, September 8, 2012. Looking on is Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato Abdul Ghafar Tengku Mohamed (C). Photo courtesy of the OPAPP.

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are both pushing to finalize a Framework Agreement in the latest round of peace talks on Sunday, October 7.

MindaNews reported Saturday, October 6, that the two sides have agreed to extend talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, until Sunday so that they will finish the agreement in this round.

“We will not go home until we finish,” both sides tell MindaNews.

The current round of talks is the 32nd since 2003, and the 13th under the current administration. It was supposedly scheduled October 2-5, but was first extended to October 6, then October 7.

Di pa tapos, (Not yet finished)” Philippine government peace panel chair Marvic Leonen was quoted saying Saturday. “We’re almost there,” MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal said.

Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed, the Malaysian facilitator of the talks, did not disclose how much of the agreement has been finished, or how much needs to be finalized yet.

MindaNews said the draft agreement was “a little over ten pages without annexes, with the agreed upon text already highlighted in bold.”

Details of the Framework Agreement are being kept under wraps, but both sides say it will be published first before being signed to avoid a scenario similar to the problematic GPH-MILF Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) back in 2008.

The MOA-AD was not signed. Petitioners asked the Supreme Court to stop its signing, saying the document was kept under wraps, and was later declared unconstitutional.

This development comes after the GPH-MILF Decision Points on Principles, which include provisions on the New Autonomous Political Entity (NAPE), which is seen to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) by 2016. – Rappler.com

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