25January

Milf Peace Panel launches “Journey To The Bangsamoro”

Chairman Mohagher Iqbal of the MILF Peace Panel led his peers on Monday (January 25) in launching a new publication titled “Journey to the Bangsamoro” in a hotel in Makati City.

In cooperation with the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) and with the assistance of the European Union Delegation to the Philippines (EU), the MILF negotiating team has come up with the 3-volume compilation of all signed agreements between the Front and the Government of the Philippines from 1997 to 2014.

Each volume represents a certain historical phase in the GPH-MILF peace process.

Several government officials, media personalities and a large number of foreign diplomats witnessed the program that allowed Iqbal and his counterpart GPH Chief Negotiator Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer to share their experiences and anecdotes and reflect on lessons learned during the negotiations described by Iqbal as “harsh, hard and protracted.”

European Union Ambassador Franz Jessen said that the EU Delegation to the Philippines welcomes the publication as a “fitting inspiration to all peace stakeholders in the country.”

Personal Insights

Iqbal confessed that in the 17 years of negotiations, he has more “bitter memories” than good ones.

“If one wants to enjoy life, never spend it as a negotiator,” he said.

But he considered though that the successes of the negotiations are “crowning achievements” and the already voluminous signed agreements are “feat of a lifetime.”

Prof. Ferrer underscored the inherent difficulty in negotiation, but implementation proves more difficult as in the case of the pending Bangsamoro Basic Law in both Houses of Congress. 

Full House

Noticeable during the 1-hour program was the large attendance of members of the diplomatic corps.

Among those present were representatives from the embassies of the Unites States, Australia, Sri Lanka, Angola, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, Federation of Russia, Switzerland, Norway, South Korea, Kuwait, Greece as well as the United Nations Resident Coordinator. 

OPAPP Usec. Luisito Montalbo and GPH Peace Panel Member Senen Bacani led several other government officials in the launch.

On the MILF side, Peace Panel member Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga and Secretariat head Jun Mantawil were also joined by the respective heads of the MILF CCCH, AHJAG, BLMI, and BDA. BTC Commissioner Ibrahim Ali also attended the event.

2000 copies of the said publication would be distributed soon to key sectors. ####