Lobregat seeks clarification on GPH-MILF points on principles PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 19 May 2012 14:33

Mayor Celso Lobregat has asked the government peace panel to shed light on the so-called GPH-MILF Decision Points on Principles as of April 2012, a two-page document which the panel forged with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front during the 27th exploratory talks in Malaysia last April 24.

The mayor together with House Deputy Speaker Beng Climaco, Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde and the majority members of the City Council met with the Chief Government peace negotiator Atty. Marvic Leonen and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita Deles on an executive session Thursday night at City Hall primarily to tackle the said document and to find out the status of the negotiation and other concerns.

And on the request of the mayor, the two officials also met with multi-stakeholders representatives at the Garden Orchid Hotel yesterday morning to also discuss issues and concerns regarding the ongoing negotiations between the government and the MILF.

Mayor Lobregat said many of the decision points have to be reviewed and clarified as most of the points cited therein can be interpreted in several ways. “These are all motherhood statements and when you get to the nitty-gritty that is where the problem arises”.

In a peace agreement, he said, it is very important that people understand the meaning of each and every provision in the pact “because if you have an interpretation and the other side has its own interpretation that is where the problem will come”.

“Our point is, maybe if they consulted us before they actually signed it (decision points on principles), then maybe all these points could have been clarified”, the mayor said in an interview with reporters.

The Thursday meeting with Sec. Deles and Atty. Leonen turned out to be very incisive and thorough as all the officials aired their concerns and doubts regarding the document, which now serves as a guide to the discussions on the substantive agenda of the negotiations.

After the executive session Wednesday night and the meeting with the multi-stakeholders, the mayor is set to collate and put into writing all the points raised or discussed and officially transmit the same to the OPAPP and to Chairman Leonen for consideration in the next round of talks which is set this month.

Meanwhile, Sec. Deles and Chairman Leonen reiterated that the government is negotiating with the MILF based on the parameters or guidelines of President Aquino. These include negotiating within the framework of the constitution, learn the lessons of the past, and that the government will sign only agreements that are doable and implementable.

Chairman Leonen underscored the fact that as representatives of the government, the panel members are directly under the direction of the president. He stressed that the Chief Executive is fully aware of the position taken by the local government units.

“We hear the mayor of Zamboanga, we hear the congresswoman of the 1st district of Zamboanga, we hear the City Council, we hear the many voices and I hear it, Secretary Deles hears it and let me tell you that the president of the Republic of the Philippines also hears your voices,” Chairman Leonen assured.

Aside from the LGUs and stakeholders and other groups, the government peace panel is also consulting with core groups of the House and the Senate. “We have done a lot of consultations and we continue to do so not only with LGUs but also civil society, the Ulama,  the CBCP, academe and we have also consulted the military and the police “.

Chairman Leonen also reiterated his assurance that all concerns aired by the Zamboanguenos will be considered in the negotiations with the MILF. — Sheila Covarrubias