GPH lauds MILF for consulting public on peace process

A March 4, 2011 press release by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

The Government of the Philippines (GPH) has lauded the efforts of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to consult the stakeholders in search for a lasting solution to the decades-old armed conflict hounding the south.

Chief negotiator Marvic Leonen, in a statement released on Thursday, said that the government “congratulates and welcomes the decision of the MILF Negotiating Panel to conduct consultations with various constituencies in Mindanao, especially indigenous peoples, civil society and business groups.”


“This is certainly in keeping with the desire of both panels to maintain transparency in the negotiations enough to encourage public discussions on the substantive issues,” the statement added.
The MILF conducted a series of Mindanao-wide peace dialogues with various sectors on January 25 to February 4 at their base in Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat.

An article dated Feb. 25 on their website stated that the Moro group are set to conduct another round of consultations within the territory of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). They are eyeing to confer with leaders of the indigenous peoples (IPs).

Both parties recently concluded its 20th formal exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where they agreed on the renewal of the mandates of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG).

The IMT monitors the ceasefire, humanitarian, rehabilitation, development, and civilian protection agreements between the GPH and the MILF, while the AHJAG interdicts and isolates kidnap-for-ransom groups, rogue or “lost command” rebel units and other criminal elements operating in Mindanao.

The two sides also agreed to issue identification cards to alleged MILF political detainees who are directly and principally involved in the peace negotiations as contained in the agreements on security and immunity guarantees.

During the two-day formal meeting, the MILF presented its new draft of the Comprehensive Compact, which contains their positions on substantive issues.

Leonen’s statement said that the GPH panel considers the draft of the MILF panel as an articulation of their position rather than as a working draft.

“It is not yet the working draft for the negotiations. We hope that it would be considered as a starting position of the MILF,” it stated.

The statement added that the government, “after full and adequate consultation and clearances” will “likewise present its proposed solution to reach a politically acceptable and principled negotiated settlement.”

“We maintain that both sides should find a win-win formula that addresses the needs of our State. We invite the public to contribute ideas and proposals that can constructively move the process forward,” the statement concluded.

The two parties will hold their next round of exploratory talks on March 29 and 30.