GPH peace talks proposal follows ‘3 for 1’ approach PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 August 2011 16:36

The “3 for 1” counter proposal of the Philippine government to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) underscores the government’s principled, realistic and practical approach to bring peace and uplift lives in Mindanao.
This was stressed by Marvic Leonen, chair of the government peace panel negotiating with the MILF, as the 22nd formal exploratory talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF came to a close in Kuala Lumpur Tuesday.
The scheduled three-day exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur was cut short on the second day after the MILF peace panel said it would recommend to their central committee to reject the government’s counter proposal.
The MILF has proposed for the creation of a sub-state in southern Philippines.
The panel chair said the proposal follows a comprehensive “3 for 1” approach or “three components for one solution to the Bangsamoro problem,” seeking to not just bring peace but more importantly improve the lives of the people and communities in the troubled south who have “long suffered from the brutality of decades-long armed conflict.”
According to Leonen, the “3 for 1” approach includes components, such as massive economic development, political settlement with the MILF, and cultural-historical acknowledgment. It resulted from the GPH panel’s extensive consultations with various sectors in Mindanao.
On the component of massive economic development, he related that the government will pursue the transformation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). This will entail a “massive program of social services and economic development” that will “prepare the people and strengthen foundations.”
“The objective of such is to break the cycle of poverty in the ARMM, so that people are actually empowered to undertake economic activities that benefit themselves and their communities in order to achieve real progress,” Leonen stated, stressing that the government is ready to partner with the MILF to deliver, implement and monitor social services and economic development in their areas.
The second component of the “3 for 1” proposal is political settlement or peace accord which “focuses more on the do-ables in the short term rather than dwell on contentious and divisive issues whose solutions may take a longer time to address.”

Leonen explained that under this component is the proposed creation of a Bangsamoro Commission that will supervise the implementation of the peace pact. This will be composed of the government, the MILF and the stakeholders in the Mindanao peace process.

The third component, the panel chair said, is the cultural-historical acknowledgment that “corrects historical narratives and fosters appreciation of different cultures borne out of the struggles of all Filipinos including those of Bangsamoro identity.”
MILF panel response

Leonen related that the MILF panel accepted and examined the government proposal on Monday evening.
“Last night, the MILF studied the proposal and decided to advise the GPH this morning that it would be advising its Central Committee to reject the proposal. However, the MILF panel did not return the document. They said they needed the document to show the Central Committee for their decision.”

Despite the MILF panel’s response, Leonen acknowledged the situation as normal. “It is not unusual in negotiations that one of the parties take a hard-line position on the contents of the initial documents of another party.”
Kato, in fighting within MILF

The GPH panel brought up the issue of Ustadz Ameril Umbta Kato, his MILF splinter group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and the 17 rido (clan feud) incidents that involved at least an MILF commander.

Leonen stated that the MILF Central Committee has declared Kato as “bougat or one who defies or does not obey an order.”
“They (MILF) have asked that we give them 10 days after Eid’l Fitr to settle the Kato issue,” he said.

Leonen added the government is now considering Kato as not part of the MILF anymore. “He is no longer covered by ceasefire arrangements. Therefore, the usual legal arrangements will apply in his steed.”

Likewise included in the agenda of the GPH-MILF peace talks was the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI), which is a mechanism, proposed by the MILF during past negotiations, that intends to train young Moro leaders to lead and manage in the future.

With this, Leonen said the GPH panel turned over to their MILF counterparts a check worth P5 million for the continuous establishment of the BLMI, as instructed by President Aquino.

Next steps
After the talks, the GPH panel will continue its consultations with different sectors to explain the government proposal and get feedback.
“It will be an exploratory and consultative process in order to ensure that the voices of the different stakeholders will be well-represented in the crafting of a final peace accord,” Leonen said.

“We are going to report to the President, await his instructions and his mandate,” he added.
Other members of the GPH peace panel are Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Ramon Piang, Sr., Senen Bacani and panel consultant Hamid Barra.