Is RP-MILF Peace Talk Dead Already?

Zamboanga City — MORO rebel leaders have advised the government that they will not honor a draft proposal on ancestral domain agreement if it is produced solely by the government and not from the negotiating table involving the two parties.

The government is currently redrafting for the third time its proposal on the ancestral domain after the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rejected its previous offers.

“What is acceptable is a draft negotiated across the negotiating table [and] not one hatched in the presidential palace. That is imposition and not negotiation and [it] will not work,” Khaled Musa, deputy-chairman of the MILF committee on information said in a statement.

“Why is there a need for the government to do it alone? Technically, there is no more deadlock in the talks,” he said, adding “it is only a matter of resuming the talks and abiding by what has been committed by the parties in the talks and during the shuttling diplomacy of the facilitator.”

PeaceWorks repeatedly tried to reach Rodolfo C. Garcia, chairman of the government’s peace panel for his side of the issue but he was not immediately available.

But in his interview with a news agency, Garcia said the government was only making sure it was not violating any laws in entering into an agreement with the MILF.

The Moro rebels earlier expressed dissatisfaction after the government allegedly created a team to check the legality of the proposed ancestral domain agreement, which is expected to be signed by both parties any time this year.

The MILF insisted that both parties had already agreed on the wording and content of the draft agreement during the “special meeting” in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year.

“Why is there a need to get the services of other lawyers if the intention is not to delay the resumption of the talks?” Musa asked, adding that the government is wasting time and resources in creating a legal team. He accused anew the government for delaying the talks.

An Islamic think tank has also urged the government to go back to the agreement it has entered into with the Moro rebel group. Both parties earlier agreed the government will set aside the issue of constitution, while the Moro rebel will not raise the subject of independence to find a common ground.

“It seems that the government is taking a peculiar position now,” said Amina Rasul-Bernardo, director of the Philippine Council on Islam and Democracy.

“There is a question of sincerity on the part of the government,” Rasul said, saying that the government only wants the “paper to move around.”

She said if only the government will abide by the gentlemen’s agreement the negotiations would have run smoothly.

The signing of the ancestral domain agenda is seen as the last component prior to the agreement on governance. Other items that were previously agreed upon are security, rehabilitation and development, which were part of the agreement signed in Tripoli, Libya in 2001.

The MILF peace panel earlier decided to withdraw from the negotiating table after the government allegedly reneged on consensus points. The points in contention deal specifically with the four strands of ancestral domain of the Tripoli Agreement of 2001 which the parties “painstakingly crafted, agreed and signed” in April 2005.

The rebels earlier expressed doubt on whether the final peace agreement would be signed under the present administration. Some MILF ground commanders are reportedly losing their trust in the peace talks.

“The uncertainty of concluding a peace pact with the government is causing anxiety to many people,” said MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim during the three-day gathering of its members in Butig, Lanao del Sur.

“Given the delays in the resumption of the peace talks, whether circumstantial or not, this prospect of signing is already held suspect.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Please follow and like us:

Leave a comment

ZABIDA, INC.

Macrohon, Compound,
Suterville, San Jose Gusu,
Zamboanga City, 7000

Talk To Us

Telefax: 990-2410
zabidamail.ph@gmail.com

Follow us