Gov't, Moro rebels 4-day talks reach 'substantive gains'-A A +A
Saturday, September 8, 2012
THE Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) concluded on Saturday the 31st round of exploratory talks with both of their negotiating panels reaching "substantive gains."
In a joint statement, the government and the MILF said the meeting from September 5 to 8 successfully worked towards the crafting of a framework agreement between the two parties.
Marvic Leonen, government panel chair, said the peace negotiations come closest perhaps to "what can be considered as problem-solving."
"We are definitely moving forward. By next meeting, we hope that we not only move forward but find a quantum leap in our negotiations," Leonen said in his closing speech in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
"These are indeed exciting times. Let us make history together," Leonen concluded.
The joint statement said the Technical Working Groups (TWGs) of both parties continued their discussions in the most recent talks and "reached consensus on many issues" such as power sharing, revenue generation, and wealth sharing arrangements.
The power sharing issue has three items, which include the reserved powers for the National Government, the exclusive powers for the new political entity (NPE) that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and the coexisting powers shared by the National Government and the NPE.
Wealth creation or revenue generation and sourcing are for the fiscal autonomy of the NPE and its capacity to have its own sources of revenues.
The TWGs also submitted preliminary reports, which were duly noted by the panels, the statement added.
Early this week, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles said government negotiators have entered what they hoped to be "the final, crucial stages of negotiations."
Deles added that the government peace panel "remains cautiously optimistic" on the possibility of signing a GPH-MILF peace agreement this year.
"Bright prospects for peace are in the horizon as negotiations with the (MILF) are making headway," Deles said.
The government and the MILF peace panels expressed appreciation to President Benigno Aquino III for his commitment to a just and lasting peace in Mindanao.
They also thanked Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak for his continued support in the facilitation of the GPH-MILF Peace Talks, and to the members of the MILF Central Committee headed by Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim for their continued commitment to the peaceful resolution of the Bangsamoro Question.
Both parties also extended their gratitude to the members of the International Contact Group (ICG), namely Japan, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Republic of Turkey, the United Kingdom, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Conciliation Resources, Muhammadiyah, and The Asia Foundation.
Tengku Dato' Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed has been acting as the Malaysian facilitator in the peace process between the government and the MILF.
The government and the MILF, together with their respective TWGs, will meet again before end of September to discuss unresolved issues. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/SDR/Sunnex)