May 22, 2012 News: Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) forthrightly asked the peace negotiating panels of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation front (MILF) to forge a comprehensive peace compact.
This came during the dialogue of the CSOs with the GPH and MILF Peace Panels in separate occasions during the Multi-Sectoral Forum on the Status and Prospects of the GPH – MILF Peace Negotiations held at the Bishop Ulama Conference (BUC) Conference Hall in Davao City last May 18, 2012.
Atty. Mary Anne Arnado, Secretary General of the Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC), raised the challenged of the CSOs, saying “we are strongly calling on both the government and MILF through the peace negotiating panels to forge a comprehensive peace agreement following the signing of both parties of the 10-Decision Points of Principles (DPP) during the exploratory talks in Malaysian last April 24, 2012.”
“We believe that with the signing of the 10 DPP which clearly sets the framework and general elements, both parties had achieved a significant breakthrough, turning point and direction in coming up with the peace accord that would put an end to the long years of conflict in Mindanao and usher in the realization of the Bangsamoro struggle and aspiration for right to self-determination through meaningful self-governance,” Atty. Arnado said.
She said that achieving peace through the negotiating table is a common interest that would benefit all parties.
Lawyer Marvic Leonen, Chairman of the GPH Peace Negotiating Panel, took the first turn of dialogue until 4pm with the CSOs coming from many parts of Mindanao.
The Peace Panel of the MILF was composed of Mohagher Iqbal, Chairman, Atty. Datu Michael Mastura and Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga, members, Al Camlian and Datu Antonio Kinoc, alternate members, Jun Mantawil, Head of Secretariat, and Atty. Raissa Jajurie, consultant. They engaged the CSOs starting 4pm.
The MILF panel was blunt in clarifying its positions on all issues raised concerning the 10 DPP from redefining the totality of relationships as asymmetrical between the national government and the Bangsamoro, power and wealth sharing, strengthening of shariah Islamia, and ministerial form of government.
Both Iqbal and Mastura clarified on the issues of transitional arrangements and mechanisms with the MILF taking on the “driver seat on direction”, vested rights, territoriality, basic charter and normalization process.
“In the 15 years of my involvement with the peace talks between government and MILF, only this time that I say that there is already a flickering light at the end of the tunnel,” Iqbal said.
“If the government really has sincerity and political will, and will not flip-flop and reneged on commitment and obligation then there is chance of signing a comprehensive peace accord,” he said.