Government, MILF ink power sharing annex

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

MANILA -- The Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed Sunday night the power sharing annex of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) in Malaysia.

The FAB envisions the creation of a Bangsamoro government that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in 2016. It was signed on October 15, 2012. [READ: Philippines signs peace deal with Muslim rebels]

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles admitted in a statement Sunday that the 42nd round of formal talks was a "very difficult round."

However, both the GPH and the MILF panels "overcome a lot of obstacles, showing the parties' shared commitment to finish and deliver on our peoples' desire for peace," she said.

"We consider the signing of the annex on power sharing as a special gift of the season for the Filipino people, an indication of the collective hopes and dreams of our people for just and lasting peace," Deles said, adding the signing of the annex ensures the achievement of a genuine and viable autonomy for the Bangsamoro.

In a joint statement, the GPH and the MILF said the annex embodies the parties’ agreement on the delineation and sharing of power between the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government within the territorial jurisdiction of the prospective Bangsamoro political entity.

The annex shall guide the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. It also provides principles of intergovernmental relations to ensure the harmonious partnership between and among the different levels of government.

"With this significant progress, the parties are confident that they will finish the annex on normalization and an addendum on the matter of Bangsamoro waters in order to complete the comprehensive peace agreement between the GPH and the MILF in January 2014," the joint statement said.

Proposed Territory of the Bangsamoro
This is a map highlighting the areas included in the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Political Entity. (Source: www.gov.ph)


With the peace process in the final stretch, the Aquino administration urged on Sunday members of the MILF to follow the rule of law and strictly adhere to the ceasefire agreement.

Government senior military adviser Major General Leo Cresente Ferrer made the call following the abduction of 12 persons in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte and the attack on a police station in Marawi City recently.

“We ask the MILF leadership to rein in their forces in the spirit of the positive strides of the peace process both sides [GPH and MILF] have steadfastly worked on for so many years. A fruitful conclusion would benefit not just the Bangsamoro people but the rest of the people in Mindanao,” he said.

Ferrer made the appeal as information came out that MILF members were allegedly involved in abducting 12 persons in Balo-i last December 5.

Eight of the civilians were released Friday night, a military report from the ground said.

MILF members under Abdul Macalunto of the 102nd Base Command seized the 12 civilians in Balo-i town as part of the group’s alleged anti-drug and anti-gambling campaigns in the area, the report said.

Ferrer stressed that prospects are now brighter than ever for the signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

“With the peace talks in the end stage, let us not allow any untoward incidents, isolated they may be, to obstruct the momentum gained so far by the peace process,” he said.

The GPH and MILF signed earlier this year the annexes on transitional arrangement and modalities, and revenue generation and wealth sharing. So far, only the annex on normalization was left unsigned. (SDR/Sunnex)

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