COTABATO CITY -- The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is waiting for the completion of the peace panel of the Philippine Government before they come up with their own.

This was the revelation made by former MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal in an interview with reporters.

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Iqbal, concurrent chair of the MILF's committee on information, said they are still waiting for the government to complete the lineup of their peace panel before the MILF would come up with their own. He said that unlike the government which is taking a lot of time coming up with their lineup, the MILF could complete their new peace panel in a jiffy.

"Madali lang naman yun e, as soon as the government completes it panel, we can come out very shortly with our own panel. May shortlist na kami but I'm not yet privileged to disclose it," Iqbal said.

It was learned that the Aquino government still lacks one member.

Though there is no clear rule as to who should come up first with their peace panel, Iqbal said the MILF find it prudent to allow the government to make the first move.

"At this point in time sa tingin ng MILF kailangan gobyerno muna ang ano e, ayusin muna nila yung panel nila," said Iqbal.

The MILF also urged the government to keep a status quo on the present set-up of the peace process wherein Malaysia is the facilitator of the peace talks. Iqbal said this is to keep the momentum and fast track the peace process instead of going back to zero.

"Pag hindi nila galawin yung mechanismo mismo na in place na, madali lang magreresume ang talks pero both sides, GRP and MILF, have to inform officially the facilitating country about the complete lineup of its panel and then the facilitating country can schedule a talk, whether it is formal or exploratory or special meeting, ganun yun," Iqbal said.

He said the MILF favors Malaysia to remain as the facilitator since "Malaysia has the institutional memory".

"Wala kaming nakikitang dahilan kung bakit papalitan ang Malaysia, e nagkaroon man ng problema ang peace talks hindi dahil sa Malaysia kundi dahil dito sa Pilipinas," Iqbal said.

The MILF expects the government to complete its peace panel before the end of Ramadhan mid of September. (Ben O. Tesiorna)