The MNLF, MILF and 2 peace agreements

Pending issues

What are the issues that Misuari wants to renegotiate?

In an earlier interview with Rappler, Lorena said the 3 main issues are: 

Lorena said these 3 issues were not originally part of the tripartite review. Of the 3 issues, Lorena said 2 had already been implemented as far the government is concerned. 

For instance, the expansion of ARMM's territory was already implemented in a plebiscite in 2002, wherein Marawi City and Basilan opted to be included in the region. 

The establishment of a provisional government was already fulfilled through the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development, an interim body for the Special Zone of Peace and Development that was set up after the signing of the 1996 agreement. 

The issue of wealth-sharing in strategic resources, on the other hand, is already covered by the wealth-sharing deal signed by the MILF and the government in July 2013.  "In effect, the wealth-sharing is achieved through MILF," Lorena explained.

The government expects the issues being raised by the MILF in the current talks and by the MNLF in the tripartite review to come together through the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

However, the MNLF opted not to join the Transition Commission, which is tasked to draft the law, despite an invitation from the government. 

Instead of pushing for the tripartite talks to continue, Misuari declared "independence" for the so-called Bangsamoro Republik in July

HOPEFUL. The government and the MILF resume talks this September.

Photo by OPAPP

Inclusive

Still, the government and the MILF remain hopeful Misuari will agree to be on board, especially since the Bangsamoro peace agreement is designed to be "inclusive."

MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar said no one's stopping Misuari from running to become the head of the proposed entity.

"As a matter of fact, under the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, if it is finished, one of its provisions is to provide for an electoral exercise, which of course any qualified Bangsamoro leader who want to run [could join]... and that includes Brother Nur Misuari," Jaafar said.  "You see, if he can run he can even become the first 'chief minister' of the Bangsamoro government. That's why we have always been saying that we should give these negotiations a chance. If the Bangsamoro people want him, why not?"

But what are the chances that Misuari will have a change of heart? 

As the secretary-general of another MNLF faction, Abdul Sahrin, told ABS-CBN, the Zamboanga City siege is not about independence. It's about power. 

Another MNLF leader, Boghdadi Hashim agrees. 

"I believe the only possible idea is to show to the whole government that the MNLF is still a force to be reckoned with, unlike what they are saying on the other side that the MNLF is a spent force, that the MNLF can't fight anymore," Hashim earlier said.

In radio interviews, Misuari's spokesperson Emmanuel Fontanilla said MNLF's issue is political, not military. 

And there might be other implications, analyst Banlaoi told Agence France-Presse: "The fear now is Misuari could create one united front along with other threat (armed) groups against the Philippines."

Appeal 

Taking a page out of the past, the government and the MILF are careful not to fall into the same problematic arrangements that the Ramos government and the MNLF entered into, as they thresh out the remaining details on how power will be shared between the Bangsamoro and the central government, as well as how the situation in the region will be normalized. 

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal has always said that the MILF is pushing for an agreement that provides for "full autonomy, short of independence."

Whether the expected peace agreement on the Bangsamoro will be "better" than the 1996 peace agreement between the Ramos government and the MNLF is not the issue, the MILF said in a September 8 editorial on Luwaran.

"Whoever has the right formula, we firmly subscribe to it. Individuals or leaders can only be good up to a certain period; after that, he has to go – if possible, for good."

For both sides, Lorena has an appeal:

"The MILF and the MNLF are just vanguards of the Bangsamoro people and therefore the issues that have been lodged in both panels are issues which are Bangsamoro issues. Therefore, to complete the process, they must [put the people first]." - Rappler.com