Palace backs temporary deal with Moro rebels-A A +A
Monday, March 8, 2010
MANILA -- Malacañang welcomed Sunday proposals to come up with an interim agreement between the government and Moro rebels to save whatever progress the peace talks had achieved during the present administration.
Deputy Presidential Spokesman Gary Olivar, in an interview by Radyo ng Bayan, said while the government prefers a final peace agreement signed before President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo steps down on June 30, an interim agreement is better than nothing.
"If we can get an interim agreement in the next two or three months, whatever, anything like that will be a sign of progress. Any kind of progress is progress," he said.
Olivar said the Arroyo government is just being careful in the negotiations and could not simply agree to any proposals made by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the sake of simply getting an agreement.
He said they are just hoping that the next government, regardless if they are from the administration or the opposition, would pursue the talks until a peace agreement has finally been signed.
Olivar urged the presidential candidates to come up this early with their own plans or policy about sustaining the peace efforts and capitalizing on whatever gains were achieved under the different presidencies.
"So any progress we can make, within the limits that they will agree, even interim agreement, we should be thankful and we will leave it to the next administration to continue peace process," he said.
The MILF recommended the signing of an interim agreement to save whatever gains were made during the talks with the Arroyo administration.
MILF negotiating panel chairman Mohager Iqbal made a PowerPoint presentation about the Moro rebel group’s proposed seven-page interim agreement, which was culled from the 38-page draft comprehensive compact peace pact.
The proposal was made after the two panels acknowledged that "only an interim agreement is possible."
Government panel chairman Rafael Seguis said the government is exploring every conceivable means and exerting every possible effort to arrive at a "just, equitable, honorable and acceptable" agreement.
Peace adviser Annabelle Abaya said the agreement is more likely to be signed within the term of President Arroyo.
This given the time constraints, including the need to amend the Constitution to realize whatever agreement would be signed between the government and MILF.
“I think an interim agreement in the form of a framework is more likely because of the constraints of time and realities, such as respect for the incoming government and the need for processes to make legislative or even possibly constitutional changes,” Abaya said.
She said what is important is that both the government and MILF agreed that whatever gains achieved during the past meetings would “not be squander and learning of what we've achieved so far.”
She added that an interim agreement would also ensure the next panel that would lead the negotiations under the new administration would not have to start from zero or scratch.
“This is the direction we are pursuing and this might be a process, a mechanism or a framework by which we can continue preparations for peace,” Abaya said. (JMR/Sunnex)