Gov’t, MILF sit down in KL to hammer out peace plan | Global News

Gov’t, MILF sit down in KL to hammer out peace plan

/ 04:21 AM August 14, 2016

NEGOTIATING panels of the government and the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) began yesterday a new round of talks in Kuala Lumpur to launch what they called the “implementation phase” of the peace process.

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Chief peace negotiator Jesus Dureza said this underscored the Duterte administration’s commitment to honor the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) signed two years ago during the term of President Benigno Aquino III, and to develop it further into a more inclusive enabling law that can pass muster in Congress.

An earlier draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law was rejected by the previous Congress due to what lawmakers said were its many “unconstitutional” provisions.

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“This [meeting] is actually to launch the implementation stage of what we envisioned to be a Bangsamoro enabling law. It is to implement the CAB that was signed between the government and the MILF in 2014,” Dureza said last week.

The meeting is expected to focus on the mechanism that would determine how a new Bangsamoro law would be crafted. It is also expected to tackle key provisions of the CAB that could already be implemented, such as the delivery of socioeconomic development programs in Mindanao.

Under the Duterte administration’s peace road map, all Bangsamoro peace agreements, including those with the Moro National Liberation Front (1996), would be integrated into the new enabling law that will create a new Bangsamoro government unit, Dureza said.

In attendance at the launch in Malaysia were members of Congress, including Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who was tasked with studying and approving the proposed Bangsamoro law before it is submitted to the new Congress.

Lawmakers present

Dureza said the congressional leaders would help ensure that the new Bangsamoro enabling law would be in sync with the proposed shift to a federal government.

“In fact, we are envisioning that the new Bangsamoro government entity can be the pilot of a federal state that embodies meaningful autonomy. With their support, we have no doubt we will see an early enactment of an inclusive Bangsamoro enabling law,” Dureza said in a statement.

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He said the seriousness of the Duterte government in pursuing peace with Muslim rebels was attested to by the attendance of so many lawmakers and officials during the launch.

“By being present on day one, we are assured that the executive and the legislative branches are both on the same page as we implement our peace agreements,” he said.

MILF optimistic

MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim said efforts to end the fighting in Mindanao must be done now and not be put off for later.

“There must be a final closure to this cycle of conflict in Mindanao. The time to do it is now, not later,” Murad said in remarks made in Kuala Lumpur, aired live over Philippine television.

Murad said that despite obstacles, both sides have reached “remarkable milestones” and their previous efforts have not been wasted. TVJ

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TAGS: Jesus Dureza, Kuala Lumpur, MILF, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Peace Process, Peace talks
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