GPH, MILF Decision Points on Principles map out direction of peace process PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 29 April 2012 14:10

While noting that the negotiations may be tough, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles has said the Decision Points on Principles signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will “pave the way for the eventual signing of a final peace agreement.”

The negotiations may be “tough and serious, but its goals and direction is not vague,” Deles said.

“I hope the signed document (Decision Points on Principles) — which lays out the common standpoints between the GPH panel and the MILF panel — explains where we are and what we want to establish to politically resolve the decades-old armed conflict in the south,” Deles added.

She said the “possibility of signing an agreement depends on the common grounds.”

According to her,the document signed in Kuala Lumpur during the 27th formal exploratory talks on Tuesday manifests “the common principles in the negotiation acceptable to both towards reaching a peace agreement.”

Deles also underscored that the list of common points shows that “there are happenings and progress on the table.”

The peace adviser highlighted that the “parties will work for the creation of a new autonomous political entity in place of the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao).”

In a related development, Marvic Leonen, chair of the government peace panel, clarified that the government and the MILF are still continuing discussions on substantive issues on the details of governance and the relationship of the autonomous entity with the national government.

He assured that such entity will definitely be within the Republic of the Philippines.

Leonen emphasized that the government is making the recently signed document public as part of its policy for inclusivity and transparency so that the people can “discuss, debate and provide inputs.”

At the same time, Deles reiterated that the government peace panel continues “to ask for people’s support, contributions, and inputs because at the end of the day, what is signed should have broad support by the public.”

Leonen said that they hope to sign a peace agreement with the MILF “with due and deliberate speed.”

“Due time means we will sign as soon as possible because we need to address the roots of armed conflict so the development in the region and the entire country can be aided by this peace process,” he said. However, the panel chair explained that negotiations can sometimes take time.

“We reach difficult points in the negotiations where we need to clarify our positions, deepen our understanding of issues or go back to our principals. These take time,” he added.

Agreeing with Leonen’s statement, Deles said that the government is bent on signing a peace pact because “the President wants to be sure that the peace agreement that will be signed during his term will also be implemented in order to be able to evaluate, assess, and adjust.”

“For us, it would be better if the signing of the agreement can be done sooner. After all, a peace accord is just the first step towards lasting peace. Its faithful implementation is what will bring us to our final destination,” Deles stressed.