Hataman reaffirms commitment to peace process under Duterte PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 14 August 2016 15:03

Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Saturday reaffirmed his commitment to the Moro peace process under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

“We believe that with the optimism that comes with this new chapter in the peace process, it is important to take note of our gains and build on those milestones we have achieved,” Governor Hataman said in a statement.

He pledged ARMM’s support for the programs and initiatives that are part and parcel of the negotiating panels’ peace efforts.

Hataman is part of the Philippine delegation currently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in a meeting with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leaders to relaunch the peace engagements and map out initial steps towards the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

CAB was signed by both government and MILF panels in 2014 leading to the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that failed to get approval by Congress which had adjourned February in preparation for the election campaign in May this year.

Both the government and MILF panels have declared their commitment to continue along the path of peace and pursue the process through which significant progress have been made in 18 years.

“The mutual trust and respect that is now apparent among the stakeholders of the government-MILF peace process was built through engaging in dialogue with open hearts and minds,” Hataman, who was reelected ARMM governor in the May 9, said.

He expressed hope that the same spirit of goodwill and cooperation will continue to guide not only the panels, but all those who have a stake in the future of the Bangsamoro said.

In a separate statement on Friday, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza vowed to do “our best to achieve certain milestones.”

Dureza said he hopes a new version of the enabling law, the draft BBL can be agreed upon quickly while the national government is working toward federalism.

President Rodrigo Duterte, as part of his campaign promise, has pushed for the passage of the BBL “minus issues that violate the Constitution”

The Kuala Lumpur meeting has been scheduled August 13-14

The formal meeting between the Philippine government and the MILF is the first under the Duterte administration.

Duterte, who won in a platform to correct the historical injustices committed against the Moros in Mindanao, vowed to implement all signed peace agreements in the country.

He flew to Jolo island on Friday to persuade Nur Misuari, founder of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), to come out of his hiding place to talk peace and make his organization part of a broader peace process with the Moro people.

“We have already gotten the consensus of all sectors in the Bangsamoro that the period of the negotiations is over. We are now in the process of implementing all these signed agreements,” Dureza told reporters before flying to Kuala Lumpur.

The guidance of the government implementing panel is hinged on the Peace and Development Roadmap that was recently approved by Duterte, under which all Bangsamoro peace agreements—MILF’s CAB and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), as well the key results of the 10-year-old GPH-Organization of Islamic Cooperation-MNLF Tripartite Review Process—will be integrated into the new enabling law that will create a new Bangsamoro  government unit; thus, replacing the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The implementation of the peace agreement with the MILF largely depends on its political track since the Bangsamoro Basic Law—the supposed implementing mechanism of the CAB—failed to pass in the previous Congress.

Dureza said that the KL meeting would zero-in on the mechanism that will determine how the new enabling law will be crafted, as well as to discuss key provisions in the CAB that can already be implemented, including the delivery of socio-economic development programs in Mindanao.

The presidential peace adviser also explained that the composition of the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), a body tasked to draft the new enabling law, would be among the agenda of the Kuala Lumpur meeting.

He said the possible idea is to expand the representations of the BTC to include leaders of the MNLF, officials of the ARMM, and other sectors in Mindanao for it to be inclusive.

The current setup of the BTC is composed of eight representatives from the MILF and seven appointees of the government.

“There must be a convergence of all sectors amongst the Bangsamoro and in the forthcoming crafting of the enabling law that will establish the Bangsamoro governance unit.

“We would like to see inclusivity in this work, meaning all sectors in the Bangsamoro must be adequately represented,” Dureza pointed out.

Dureza, who have touched-base with Moro leaders earlier, including MILF Chairman Murad Ebrahim, said there is a collective understanding of the willingness of all Moro leaders to be part in crafting of the enabling law.

On Tuesday, August 9, Dureza met with MNLF’s Muslimin Sema, who expressed his commitment to join the BTC.

Misuari is facing charges following the so-called Zamboanga Siege, where more than 200 people were killed in a three-week battle.

The KL meeting will also serve as a venue for the Duterte administration to brief the Malaysian facilitators on its peace agenda in Mindanao.

“We would like to brief the Malaysians on our peace and development roadmap under the Duterte administration. Remember, the Malaysians have contributed enormously in the negotiation stage. Therefore, we thought it’s fitting to give them that due recognition for their contributions to our peace efforts by launching the implementation stage in Kuala Lumpur,” Dureza said.