Friday, August 17, 2012

GPH, MILF end talks with progress, commit to solve problems



From the Website of OPPAP
links:  http://www.opapp.gov.ph/milf/news/gph-milf-end-talks-progress-commit-solve-problems



GPH, MILF end talks with progress, commit to solve problems

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Posted on Monday, 13 August, 2012 - 12:58


Kuala Lumpur, Aug. 13 – With strengthened resolve to end the decades-old armed conflict in Mindanao, the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) successfully concluded last Saturday their 30th round of formal exploratory talks here with both sides committing to understand problems and find solutions.

“I think I reflect the position of this particular administration of the Republic of the Philippines in saying that we are fully committed to understand the problem, first and foremost. And second, to try to find solutions with you – not unilaterally, but with you, in order to bring about this kind of justice that we want,” GPH panel chair Dean Marvic Leonen said in his closing statement.


Leonen was joined by panel members Miriam Coronel Ferrer, Senen Bacani, Yasmin Busran-Lao and Hamid Barra. Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles along with Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor in-charge Mujiv Hataman also joined the last day of the talks as observers.

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal also expressed his party’s commitment to settling the problems confronting the peace table.

“Let me assure everyone, especially the government, that MILF is a reliable partner in peace making. And we are also a reliable partner in confronting the challenges ahead of us because one of the reasons is that we have the support of our people. And we know what we are doing now is not against what it was supposed to be – a good approach in solving the problem in Mindanao.”

In their joint statement, the panels “organized their respective Technical Working Groups (TWGs) on Power-Sharing and Wealth-Sharing. Both TWGs discussed and reached consensus on some issues on power sharing and revenue generation and wealth sharing arrangements.”

“The Parties note the progress in the discussion on a framework agreement,” it said, adding that both sides agreed to meet again in late August, 2012.

The statement also said that the parties “condemn the senseless attacks of the so-called Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFF-BIFM), as well as the violent acts of lawless elements in several areas in Mindanao.”

“The GPH and the MILF denounce these aggressions or dirty spoiling by groups who will do everything to derail the peace process. The Parties will work together to ensure that these spoilers will not succeed as the Parties continue to push forward to bring just and lasting peace to our peoples and communities,” it added.

Power and wealth-sharing
Among the most difficult issues being dealt with on the table are power-sharing and wealth-sharing which are laid out in the Decision Points on Principles signed by both parties in April this year.
TWGs for each panel were created to delve into the details of power-sharing and wealth-sharing and flesh out issues.
Power-sharing has three items: reserved powers for the National Government, exclusive powers for the new political entity (NPE) which will replace the ARMM, and concurrent powers shared by the National Government and the NPE. Reserved powers of the National Government include defense and external security, foreign policy, coinage and monetary policy, among others.
Meanwhile, wealth creation (or revenue generation and sourcing) is important to ensure fiscal autonomy of the NPE with capacity to have its own sources of revenues.


Spoilers in peace process

Both parties slammed the violent acts perpetrated by the BIFF-BIFM in various towns in Maguindanao and North Cotabato, and committed to ensure that these spoilers in the peace process will not succeed.

“It is our common knowledge that the spoilers are doing their part in trying to make the peace process very hard for us. There was sabotage on on-going MILF-Government peace negotiations,” Iqbal said.
 


Deles, in an earlier statement, underlined that the lawless group, not being part of the MILF, is not covered by any ceasefire agreement.

“This act of aggression of the BIFM is meant to derail the peace process between the government and the MILF. We assure the public that these incidents will not affect the substantial gains that we have carefully and persistently built with our counterparts, foremost of which is the ceasefire mechanism that continues to hold on the ground and kept the peace for our communities,” she stated.
 

Next talks in late August

Leonen said that the GPH panel will return to the negotiating table “in two weeks’ time, more ready to engage the MILF, with respect to the most contentious issues that we have identified so far.”

He reiterated that "President Benigno Aquino III is very much involved, very much knowledgeable about all the issues that we discussed across this table."

Both parties expressed their gratitude to the President for his commitment to the Mindanao peace process, Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak for his continued support in the facilitation of the GPH-MILF peace talks, and to the members of the MILF Central Committee chaired by Al Haj Murad Ebrahim for their continued commitment to the peaceful resolution of the Bangsamoro question.

They likewise thanked the members of the International Contact Group composed of representatives from Japan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Conciliation Resources, Muhammadiyah, and The Asia Foundation. #






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