MALACANANG is almost finished building the government peace panel that will deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), but said it may not publicly name the members for at least one week.

Presidential peace process adviser Teresita Deles said Saturday that they hope to start formal peace talks with the MILF by the fourth quarter of 2010.

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“We want to wait until the panel is complete before we announce the members. Some members have to finish some business before joining the panel,” Deles said on government-run dzRB radio.

“There are technical matters still being ironed out. We expect to name the panel members this coming week or next week,” she added.

She said the members must understand their respective sectors and the peace process.

For its part, the MILF cited a “reliable source” that government may name Miriam Coronel, a close associate of government peace panel chairman Marvic Leonen.

The MILF website said Coronel is a college of Leonen at the University of the Philippines.

On the other hand, Deles said that “mutual friends” are relaying “informally” messages between the government and MILF, but these mainly involve “reactions” to issues. She did not elaborate.

Deles added that President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino has instructed the peace panel under Leonen to review past agreements between the two sides and see what can be implemented immediately. These can be the foundation for the government side once it resumes formal peace talks with the MILF.

Dealing with CPP, NDF

Contrary to the development in forming the peace panel to deal with the MILF, Malacañang hinted Saturday that it may not complete its peace panel dealing with leftist rebels before President Aquino’s first State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 26.

This, even as Malacanang said it will do its best to do so before August rolls in.

Deles said the government cannot afford to make haste in preparing to talk peace with the National Democratic Front (NDF) and Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

“I am still speaking to some nominees to the panel. I expect we can complete the panel before the end of July,” she said.

But when asked if the panel can be completed before Aquino delivers his first Sona on July 26, Deles said it may be a tall order of sorts.

“That’s just one week away. We are trying to complete the panel soonest but it is best we do not make haste,” she said. “But rest assured we are doing our best to come up with the panel soonest.”

Nearly one month after its inauguration, the government has yet to name the head of the negotiating panel that will deal with the CPP-NDF. (JMR/Sunnex)