MANILA, Philippines – Four days before government and Muslim rebels resume their talks in Kuala Lumpur, Chief government negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer speaks to Rappler.
Announcing her designation in December 2012, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said her appointment signified “continuity and harmony” in the peace talks.
Ferrer was the adviser of the government peace panel’s technical working group on the issue of normalization, one of the most contentious parts of the negotiations. Ferrer was also a political science professor in the University of the Philippines.
Eight months after the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro in October 2012, talks reached a deadlock because of disagreements on wealth and power sharing. The two parties disagree about issues on the devolution of taxes, share in natural resources, and how the national government will allot money to the region.
The MILF wants to stick to the initial annex both sides finished drafting in February 2013. Upon reaching President Benigno Aquino, the government proposed changes to the initial annex which the MILF thinks went beyond a cursory review. Presidential Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte says the government is trying to avoid repeating mistakes from the past.
Breaking the stalemate, peace talks between the Philippine government and Muslim rebels will resume on July 8 in Kuala Lumpur. The talks will likely last for 5 days.
Any delay would have long-term implications. Based on the MILF’s estimates, the Transition Commission needs up to two years to finish drafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the foundation of the Bangsamoro region.
By that time, lawmakers will only have a year to pass the law in the 16th Congress before President Benigno Aquino steps down in June 2016.
Watch the interview below.