Govt stands firm on proposal, ball is now on MILF’s court, says Leonen PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 29 August 2011 14:54

The Philippine government stands firm on its counter proposal submitted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) even after the MILF peace panel said that it would recommend to the MILF Central Committee to reject the proposal.

“The government proposal is the most principled, realistic and practical approach to resolving the decades-old armed conflict in the south,” Government of the Philippines (GPH) panel chair Marvic Leonen said.

“The government rejects the MILF’s rejection of our proposal,” he said, emphasizing that the “3 for 1” proposal or three components for one solution to the Bangsamoro problem was crafted within the bounds of the Philippine Constitution, which allows a lot of flexibility.

Earlier, the MILF submitted its proposal to create a sub-state in Mindanao to end the over four decades of armed conflict.
The government peace panel submitted its counter proposal to the MILF peace panel during the 22nd exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur on Aug. 22-23.
Leonen underlined that the 20-page proposal was the result of the series of consultations the peace panel conducted with various stakeholders in Mindanao.

“It seeks not only to provide a just and lasting peace to the troubled south but more so to improve and uplift the lives of the people who have long suffered from the brutality of decades-long armed conflict,” according to Leonen who, along with panel members Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Ramon Piang, Sr. and Senen Bacani, met with the MILF panel for their 22nd formal exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur.

“These components are made up of: 1) massive economic development; 2) political settlement with the MILF, and; 3) cultural-historical acknowledgment,” Leonen said.

He related that this includes a “massive program of social services and economic development” to break the cycle of poverty in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“In this regard, the government has encouraged and is prepared to work with the MILF in conflict-affected areas in undertaking these much needed social services,” the panel chair stated. “Their partnership will contribute immensely to the growth of the area as well as build confidence and trust between the parties.”

Leonen also said that the “3 for 1” proposal involves a political settlement or peace agreement with the MILF by which a Bangsamoro Commission will be created and composed of the government, the MILF and stakeholders in the Mindanao peace process. The said commission will supervise the implementation of the peace pact.

Likewise incorporated in the government proposal 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.”

Ferrer, in an interview on the ABS-CBN News Channel, said that the MILF should realize that the proposal was an “honest offer from the government.”
“The MILF now has to decide whether it wants to move forward to achieve a negotiated settlement to the Bangsamoro problem, “ Leonen said as he emphasized that “in negotiations, it should be expected that the other party opens with ideas different from yours (MILF).”

The government is sincere in moving the peace process forward.

As a proof, no less than President Benigno S. Aquino III held a one-on-one meeting with MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in Tokyo on Aug. 4 to fast-track the peace process.

“The GPH proposal reflects the sincere desire of the President for permanent peace in Mindanao obtained in a fair, just and transparent manner. We await a reciprocal show of sincerity, openness and commitment from the MILF to move the peace process forward,” Leonen said.