MILF pins talks’ snag on gov’t

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Miriam Coronel-Ferrer. PHOTO FROM OPAPP.GOV.PH

MANILA, Philippines—The negotiations between the government and Muslim rebels look to have hit a bump.

The separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is none too pleased that the latest round of exploratory talks ended in Kuala Lumpur last Thursday without the negotiating panels signing at least one of three annexes to the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement.

“Something is wrong,” said Maulana Alonto, a member of the MILF negotiating panel.

The two sides failed to complete a single one of the annexes on wealth-sharing, normalization and power-sharing.

What they did complete were the terms of reference on the much-touted Sajahatra Bangsamoro, a joint government-rebel development program for communities in Mindanao.

Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, the government’s chief negotiator, said in a text message the government was putting the draft of the three annexes through a “diligent review,” which, she said, would ensure a smoother implementation in the long run.

“[The] government is just as keen as the MILF to finish the comprehensive agreement as soon as possible. But it would rather err for the moment on the side of prudence,” Ferrer said.

She said the road map to the election in 2016 of officials for the new Bangsamoro political entity was “in place.”

MILF panel members were quoted in the MILF’s luwaran.com website as saying they had hoped the wealth-sharing annex could have been signed at least during the latest round of talks.

Alonto said the panels had already initialed the annex on wealth-sharing during the last exploratory talks on Feb. 25.

He said “expectations were high” that there would be no further discussions on the wealth-sharing annex as the text had already been initialed by both sides.

While the panels could both take the annex back to their principals, President Aquino and MILF chair Ebrahim Murad, for a “cursory review,” this should only be “routine because the panels had already concurred on the language of the initialed text and consultations had been held with their principals before the initialing took place,” he said.

“We were not prepared, however, for the sudden announcement by the (government) panel that they needed more time to revisit and review the wealth-sharing annex despite the fact that more than a month was ample time to make such a review,” Alonto said.

He said that he and his MILF colleagues now believe that there was “something wrong… a very serious question of credibility.”

“We are racing against time but the way things are turning out, time might outrun us,” he said.

Luwaran.com quoted another MILF panel member, Abdulla Camlian, as saying that the problem may lie either with the government negotiating team or Mr. Aquino himself.

“I think there is much traffic between him and his negotiators and we may be looking at a communications problem between them as the culprit. Let us wait, for certainly the real score will be known sooner or later,” Camlian said.

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  • indiosbravos2002

    The Phil government should review and renegotiate if needed. After the Sabah row, everone knows now that the Malaysian’s have been manipulating the muslim rebels in Mindanao. We cannot trust traitors and collaborators of foreign entities even those posing as friends. Mas maayos pa nga China kasi in the open sila na kaaway ng pinas, yong Malaysia traydor tumira.

  • indiosbravos2002

    Mga kababayan. Magtagalog na lang tayo. Andito na naman ang mga Malayshits at Malaymonkeys.

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