Gov’t to consult all stakeholders ahead of formal talks with MILF PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 12 August 2011 15:51

The government assured yesterday that it would consider the views of all stakeholders in the ongoing peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) before both the government and MILF panels meet on August 22 to 24, Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

According to Secretary Teresita Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP), the government panel will continue to work with different constituencies in preparation for the said meeting.

Asked by reporters if the administration is ready for constitutional amendments given the MILF proposals for a sub-state, Valte said they can’t comment until the formal meeting is held with the MILF but it is the President’s position not to support any push for Charter change in general.

In a press briefing last week, government chief negotiator Marvic Leonen said both sides were expected to discuss significant agenda in the upcoming formal talks this month following the meeting of President Aquino with the MILF leadership in Japan also last week.

“Every meeting thereafter, there will be very significant agendas. I don’t think that it is in the appetite of both sides to discuss very procedural issues. Again, the meeting ended with both sides expressing their intent to fast track the process,” Leonen said referring to the Japan meeting.

President Aquino’s meeting with the leadership of the MILF in Japan Thursday night was aimed at showing sincerity and to fast track the ongoing peace talks with the Muslim rebel group.

Leonen explained that the President and Murad had a candid exchange of views about the frames of the continuing peace talks and possible approaches for both sides to take to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao.

Going to Japan in full force with members of his cabinet accompanying him indicated the government’s sincerity in the peace negotiations, he added.
The chief negotiator also made an assurance that there was no “secret deal” forged between the government and the MILF during the meeting adding that the Aquino government will not commit the same mistakes made by the past administration.