Gov’t committed to implement 1996 Final Peace Agreement with MNLF PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 19 February 2012 14:49

The government is committed “to find ways to reach a mutually-acceptable solution on remaining issues” to fully implement the 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA) with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

“We will take up difficult issues, but we are committed to arrive at a resolution,” Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles said during a dinner she hosted for Indonesian Ambassador Rezlan I. Jenie and members of the Organization of Islamic Conference-Peace Committee for the Southern Philippines (OIC-PCSP) held in Makati City Wednesday.

Jenie, OIC-PCSP chairman, visits the country to conduct separate consultations with the government and the MNLF before the 2nd Ad Hoc High Level Group (AHHL) Meeting set in March, 2012, in Bandung, Indonesia.

Composed of 12 members out of the OIC members and secretary general, the OIC-PCSP facilitates talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MNLF.

The AHHL, consisting of five representatives each from from GPH and MNLF, was created by the parties to find ways to reach mutually-acceptable solutions to the remaining unresolved issues regarding the full implementation of the 1996 FPA.

MNLF as partner

In message read on his behalf by Deles, ARMM OIC Governor Mujiv S. Hataman recognized the important role of the MNLF.

“We recognize the leading role of the MNLF in the Bangsamoro struggle and their contribution to the creation of an expanded ARMM,” Hataman said.

“The MNLF is not only a stakeholder in ARMM but more so a partner in the pursuit for reforms in the region. In fact, the MNLF is represented in the top level of the region through the person of ARMM Officer-in-charge Vice Governor Bainon Karon,” Hataman said in his message.

Meanwhile, Karon said: “As a Bangsamoro, I will support the peace process. As a senior leader of the MNLF, I am duty bound to push and ensure that our efforts of reforms in ARMM will complement the implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.”

“Together with other MNLF leaders and members of government, we must ensure that MNLF communities benefit with the rest of the autonomous region from the development efforts of the current national and regional leadership,” urged Karon, who is also the concurrent secretary of the ARMM-Department of Social Welfare and Development.

She also called on both sides to continue “seeing through the full implementation of the 1996 FPA.” During the AHHL meeting in July last year in Solo, Indonesia, the government and the MNLF signed a “Solo Understanding on Partnership for ARMM reform” which aims at developing a “workable partnership at appropriate levels.”

Both parties recognized the possibilities for reforming the region in light of the postponement of the ARMM elections, believing that they should “avail of the opportunity and use the period to work together with concerned stakeholders to capacitate the ARMM as a complementary mechanism” for the full implementation of the 1996 FPA.

President Benigno S. Aquino III signed into law Republic Act 10153, synchronizing the ARMM elections to the national polls in May 2013 and authorizing the president to appoint officers-in-charge in the region, thereby providing opportunities for the government to exercise its reforms.

Included in the reform agenda are full audit of ARMM expenditures; addressing the vulnerabilities for corruption; capacitating local governments to address the concerns of their constituents; and economic development to benefit the people of Mindanao.

Also joining them were Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Officer-in-Charge Vice Governor Hadja Bainon Karon, OPAPP Undersecretary Dimasangcay Pundato, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis, Justice Undersecretary Leah Armamento, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Undersecretary Djalia Hataman, Office of the Executivae Secretary Undersecretary Nabil A. Tan, National Security Council Deputy Director-General Zenonida Brosas, OPAPP Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Rose Romero, Interior and Local Government Assistant Secretary Nariman Ambolodto, Lieutenant General (ret.) Raymundo Ferrer and Commodore Miguel Jose Rodriguez, among others. (PNA)