Photo credit to GMA Network
Photo credit to GMA Network

Manila, Philippines – Peace Negotiators of the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) came up with an agreement to hold a 10-day meeting in September after the 39th GPH-MILF Exploratory Talks that lasted for four days.

During the August 22-25 meeting held in Malaysia, both parties failed to reach a consensus regarding the remaining annexes, the power-sharing and normalization that will lead to the signing of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

The CPA includes the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the four annexes, the transitional arrangement and modalities, wealth-sharing, power-sharing and normalization.

Moreover, the FAB will be used as a basis on creating a new MILF-led Bangsamoro political entity to replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

During the four-day meeting, the GPH and MILF worked hand-in-hand to resolve some of the most crucial issues and committed to go on with the negotiation using the “problem-solving” approach despite the sensitivity of the said issues.

Furthermore, the composition of the Independent Commission on Policing were also discussed which will be task to submit recommendations to the peace panels on the appropriate form, structures and relationships of the police force for the envisioned Bangsamoro region.

According to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, GPH and MILF attained substantial progress in the discussion towards the two annexes.

“In the spirit of partnership and mutual understanding, they are confident that an agreement will be reached soon. They agreed to meet again in September 2013,” OPAPP said.

However, Government panel Chairperson Miriam Ferrer admitted that the round of talks was hard to end as it covered the two annexes.

“We knew that negotiating on the power sharing annex will be as hard as that on the wealth sharing annex so we feel relieved having come to better understanding on the principles of intergovernmental relations,” Ferrer said.

The government and MILF peace panels already signed two of the four annexes, the Transitional Arrangements and Modalities and Wealth Sharing, during the previous exploratory talks. As of press time, both parties said that they are working on finalizing the text on the normalization annex.

Present also on the meeting were observers from the House of Representatives, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and civil society from across Southern Mindanao that pave way for an informal discussion between the members of Congress and the BTC.

Moroever, members of the congress headed by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Congressman Pangalian Balindong, vowed to support the planned Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) once it is pass to Congress.

Meanwhile, civil society organization represented by Atty. Mary Ann Amado, Patricia Sarenas and Salik Ibrahim offer their unwavering support to the peace process and the success of BBL in particular.

Both parties also show their gratitude to President Benigno Aquino III and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in committing for a lifelong peace in Mindanao and continuing support in the facilitation of the GPH-MILF Peace Talks, respectively.

Written by:

Faye Michelle Regis
ABCom, Leyte Normal University