OIC delegation lauds GPH efforts to improve MNLF communities PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 06 June 2014 11:13

BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi — A delegation from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) lauded on Wednesday here the Government of the Philippines (GPH) for its continuing efforts to improve the plight of Muslims in the Southern Philippines in line with the implementation of the 1996 (MNLF) final peace agreement.

Around a dozen envoys visited three projects implemented by the government for MNLF communities under the PAyapa at MAsaganang PAmayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) or PAMANA program and observed its impact on the people.

“What we saw is encouraging and it represents good steps ahead…I see people are happy from the inside. We were very much touched by their emotions, which encourage us to visit other MNLF communities in the near future,” said Egyptian ambassador Mahmoud Mostafa Ahmed Mohamed, during a press conference following the site visits. Egypt is the current chair of OIC-Peace Committee for Southern Philippines which facilitates the Tripartite Implementation Review of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.

Together with Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Quintos Deles, Mostafa flew here with ambassadors Dato’ Mohd Zamri Bin Mohd Kassim of Malaysia, Ahmed Kamal Hasan Alkamaly of Iraq, Safdar Hayat of Pakistan, Retired Major General John Gomes of Bangladesh, Safdar Hayat of Pakistan, Esra Cankorur of Turkey, and Akinyemi Farounbi of Nigeria.

Representatives from the embassies of Brunei, Indonesia and Libya also joined the delegation.

The OIC brokered the 1996 FPA between the government and the MNLF. The pan-Islamic body created the PCSP, chaired by Egypt, for the tripartite review of the peace accord.

The 5th Session of the GPH-OIC-MNLF Tripartite Review Meeting was scheduled to take place last September 16 in Indonesia but was postponed by the OIC-PCSP, chaired then by Indonesia, upon the request of Nur Misuari due to the Zamboanga siege carried out then by MNLF members associated with founding chair Misuari.

Ambassador Mostafa said the OIC delegation was impressed with the impacts of the school, health center and road projects benefiting MNLF communities here.

“[This is what you get when there is] no more fighting,” he stressed, noting Tawi-Tawi is prospering with still great potentials particularly in fisheries or aquaculture.

Deles thanked the OIC envoys for visiting the locality, saying the government had invited way back in 2012 the pan-Islamic body to visit Mindanao for them to see the dividends of the 1996 FPA.

Stressing that the government continues to honor the 1996 FPA, she said: “Peace must be won not only in the negotiating table but also in the ground. It is important that work on the ground be felt more, so that peace be also felt more.”

Deles said in the choice of development projects for the MNLF, the government ensures the group’s participation as well as that of the local government units and other stakeholders to make the venture a partnership among all.

Laurel Tahir, MNLF state chairman for Tawi-Tawi, thanked the government for the projects implemented in MNLF communities here.

“The presence here of our government and OIC officials triggers our expectation that through their help, we will be able to move on to improve our economic and livelihood conditions [as well as] the educational and other social benefits of our people,” he said.