NORTH Cotabato Vice Governor Emmanuel Piñol will appear before the House of Representative’s Special Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity on Monday, February 1.

The official will be giving his insights on the renewed peace negotiations between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

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The committee will deliberate on House Resolution 1546 filed by Zamboanga City Representative Maria Isabelle Climaco requiring the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp) to fully disclose specific details of the renewed peace talks.

The government and MILF peace panels will meet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on February 27 and 28 to exchange draft proposals on a comprehensive compact that could be signed by March this year.

In an interview with a local radio station, MILF Peace Panel Chairman Mohagher Iqbal described the comprehensive compact as more encompassing than the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), which has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC) following a case filed against it before the high tribunal by Piñol.

Earlier this week, Piñol aired his concerns about the reported plan of the MILF to press its demand for a Bangsamoro territory that will include parts of North Cotabato, particularly the Palma-P area that is made up of the municipalities of Pigcawayan, Alamada, Libungan, Midsayap, Aleosan and Pikit.

“The people of North Cotabato vehemently oppose this idea,” Piñol said.

“We have made this clear in the plebiscites on the creation of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (Armm) in 1996 and on its expansion in 2001, and again in our opposition to the MOA-AD,” he said.

North Cotabato voted overwhelmingly against inclusion in the Armm in the plebiscite of September 2, 1996 with 114,568 “no” votes against only 26,734 “yes” votes.

In the plebiscite on the expansion of the Armm on August 14, 2001, North Cotabato registered 167,531 “no” votes against only 16,603 “yes” votes.

Piñol called on leaders in the province to set aside politics and stand together in reiterating the people’s sentiment on the issue. (BOT/With PR)