MILF Chief Negotiator Receives Award from PAZ, ISP

MORO Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal formally received the Peaceweaver Award from Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) chairman Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF and other convenors of the Inter-Religious Solidarity for Peace (ISP) when he paid a visit to the office of the Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance, Inc. (ZABIDA) on Monday, February 18.

The award is for the entire MILF peace panel and was one of six, to include the government peace panel as well, that was conferred during the Week of Peace 2012 celebration last November. Iqbal, however, was unable to come to receive it at the time and only sent a representative. His trip to Zamboanga City for a forum in Basilan Province provided an opportunity for him to personally receive the award and to meet with some leading interfaith peace advocates of the city.

Fr. Calvo in welcoming the MILF leader and peace panel members Abdullah Camlian and Abhoud Syed Lingga reiterated the continuing support of PAZ and ISP to the peace process, especially the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and its projected implementation measures.

In his response, Iqbal gave a bird’s eye view of the status of ongoing discussions between the government and MILF panels to complete the four annexes that are needed to operationalize the FAB. He sounded cautiously optimistic about how soon the annexes will be completed, since some issues are apparently encountering tough bargaining.

The award citation, read by PAZ vice-chairperson Dr. Grace Rebollos, praised the MILF peace panel as “The wise and prudent vanguard of that collective Bangsamoro aspiration . . . For negotiating for 15 years for a peaceful resolution of the 40 years of armed rebellion –and the antecedent centuries of a war of resistance in Mindanao – the MILF peace panel has earned a unique and rare place in the world stage as a Peaceweaver.”

The FAB is the breakthrough accord enacted last year to provide a roadmap leading to the formation of a new autonomous government for the Bangsamoro people by not later that 2016.

PAZ and ISP issue the Peaceweaver Awards to individuals, groups or institutions annually in past years as part of the Mindanao Week of Peace celebration.

The newly-built ZABIDA office is located in Suterville, Zamboanga City.

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