Philippine government: MILF peace pact still far off
After failing to settle a final peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in a self-imposed deadline last month, the Aquino administration on Sunday said that “much work is still needed” to finish the four annexes needed to complete the accord.
The two panels resumed formal talks in Kuala Lumpur the same day, and government chief negotiator Miriam Ferrer called the talks “crucial.”
He said, “Much work is still needed to find a middle ground on certain core issues. Both parties are open to consider options on the remaining difficulties across the annexes, including the technical impasse pertaining to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority.”
Ferrer expressed optimism it would take just one more round of negotiations before the annexes were signed. She said, “There may be some items over which we would have to confer once more with our respective principals before we seal the texts. With conviction, goodwill and earnest partnership with the MILF, we can make this [the signing of the peace pact] happen very soon.”
Earlier, presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles claimed the normalization process with the MILF would also result in the disarmament of other armed groups in Mindanao.
“You don’t just talk about the arms of the MILF, but also of everyone else. That is part of normalization,” Deles said.
“How can you ask the MILF to completely disarm if other groups or some families are armed? We are looking for a real partnership among the government, the MILF and other governance constituencies to look at this matter on how to make a life more secure, to trust in the state forces to make them secure, and be engaged in other productive activities.”
President Aquino has said he wants a new law creating the Bangsamoro - the new autonomous political entity embodied in the framework agreement with the MILF — to be enacted by 2015.
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