Peace panel consults North Cotabato on peace deal

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Friday, February 7, 2014


MEMBERS of the government peace panel, headed by chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, visited the province of North Cotabato Wednesday to consult the provincial officials on their sentiment on the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement which has recently been signed between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The consultation coincided with the province's peace and order council meeting here at the Provincial Capitol in Amas, Kidapawan City.

In attendance were mayors, provincial board members, members of the peace and order council, military, police, and NGO members.

The government peace panel is headed by chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer along with members Senen Bacani and Yasmin Busran-Lao.

Ferrer expressed gratitude to the Provincial Board for coming out with a resolution expressing their support on the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement. Their consultation, she said, was to give LGU officials an overview of the BFA and get their sentiments about the issue.

During the consultation, most of the officials were concerned with the composition of the core territory of the Bangsamoro. It was learned that aside from the existing geographical areas of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the cities of Isabela and Cotabato will also be included.

Six municipalities of Lanao del Norte (Baloi, Munai, Pantar, Tagaloan, Tangkal, Nunungan) as well as 39 barangays in six municipalities of North Cotabato will also be part of the core territory.

Ferrer explained that the core territory is the product of the bargaining they had with the MILF for them not to pursue the territories stated in the controversial Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Aside from the core territory, there is also a provision in the BFA that allows LGU not included in the core territory to pass a resolution or a petition to be included in the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity provided that at least 10% of the qualified voters in the area ask for their inclusion.

Governor Mendoza said this is the main issue that seemed important to LGU leaders for now and that needs to be properly explained by the peace panel.

The peace panel also expressed confidence that unlike the MOA-AD, they are confident that the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement is within the ambit of the Constitution.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 07, 2014.

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