Thursday, November 3, 2011

Statement of Former Chief Negotiator Silvestre Afable On the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute













From the Website OPPAP
Links:  http://www.opapp.gov.ph/milf/news/statement-former-chief-negotiator-silvestre-afable-bangsamoro-leadership-and-management-in

PEACE TALKS
MILF


Statement of Former Chief Negotiator Silvestre Afable On the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute



"One must be creative in offering alternatives to those who have been used to live by the gun."
Silvestre Afable 

I am glad President Aquino gave the MILF P5 million for the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BMLI).


I was the Government’s chief negotiator with the MILF when, in 2006, we reached agreement (across the negotiating table in KL) to set up the BMLI. Secretary Jess Dureza was then the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. He may have just forgotten that event.


The BMLI is an offshoot of an earlier agreement (2001) to form the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA). At that time, the MILF wanted to try its hand at implementing its own development projects.


As the BDA grew, it needed more personnel who could receive, disburse and account for funds; and supervise incipient development teams. The BMLI was the envisioned training school for these personnel. We requested the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) to work on the basic curriculum and devote trainors to the project, which was done with enthusiasm and zeal.


Institutions such as the BDA and the BMLI must not be treated negatively, because these, alongside the ceasefire, provide the necessary climate for negotiations and stem the urge among fighters to shoot each other. One must be creative in offering alternatives to those who have been used to live by the gun.  


When the government and the MILF restored the ceasefire in 2001, we needed to follow up on two key items: first, to get in an International Monitoring Team to help make sure the truce holds; and create the basic institutions to re-channel the energies of MILF fighters-on-hold.


Confidence-building measures lie in the meat of any peace process anywhere in the world. While we seek a political solution in the peace talks, we try to safeguard the ceasefire like precious life itself, and carve out a positive direction for fighters-on-hold—who will hopefully trade their guns for ploughshares when a final settlement is reached. 

The MILF itself has tried its level best to abide by this negotiation-ceasefire-development model as a transitional mechanism to a final political settlement. Many Filipinos are cynical about this, but I appreciate the fact that President Aquino is not. 



Silvestre C. Afable Jr.
Former GPH Chief Negotiator in Talks with the MILF

November 3, 2011