Malaysia not giving up on Mindanao peace process – envoy
BULUAN, Maguindanao – Kuala Lumpur is not about to give up in its effort to broker peace in Mindanao even with the “death” of the Bangsamoro Basic Law in Congress, according to a Malaysian diplomat here.
Speaking at the opening of the 5th Maguindanao Sagayan Festival here on Monday, Abdullah Zawawi Tahir, the Malaysian consul general based in Davao City, also urged Filipino Muslims not to negatively view the non-passage of the BBL under the Aquino administration, saying genuine peace could still reign in Mindanao if all people on the island would take it as their common goal.
Tahir said for genuine peace to be achieved, peace work must continue and that setbacks should not be viewed negatively.
“We should not look at it negatively because this is not an overnight work. We need everyone to join and help in searching for the peace,” he said.
Tahir admitted that “we don’t know what’s going to happen next” but added that Kuala Lumpur “will continue to support the efforts of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in search of long lasting peace in Mindanao.”
Malaysia, a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), facilitated the 17-year peace talks between the Philippine government and the MILF, which resulted in the crafting of the BBL.
Tahir said instead of feeling negative over the failure of the BBL to pass in Congress, Filipino Muslims should look at the positive things achieved in the course of the peace process.
He cited “several changes” that included the absence of serious clashes and the pouring in of development projects and programs.
Malaysia also heads the International Monitoring Team, a body tasked to monitor the implementation of ceasefire between the government and the MILF.
MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal earlier reiterated the MILF’s commitment despite the failure of Congress to enact the BBL into law.
But he said the MILF has halted its decommissioning process.
“There will be no decommissioning of guns to happen until the issue of the BBL is resolved,” Iqbal told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.
Last year, the MILF handed over 75 firearms to the government as part of its obligation to the decommissioning stage of the peace process as prescribed by the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
The second phase of the decommissioning process will involve 30 percent of MILF forces and firearms.
But Iqbal pointed out that under the agreement, the second phase of the decommissioning process could only take place after the passage of the BBL.
“The next round of decommissioning will only take place if Congress approves the original version of the BBL,” he said. SFM
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