Celso airs concern on peace deal; awaits copy of framework pact PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 08 October 2012 14:18

Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday deferred comments on Malacañang’s pronouncement of a new autonomous political entity named “Bangsamoro” pending review or study of the official copy of the framework agreement which the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was said to have forged in Malaysia recently.

Lobregat said he has to judiciously go over the provisions in the framework agreement before giving reactions to the pronouncements.

Last October 4, Lobregat wrote anew Dean Marvic Leonen, chairman of the government peace negotiating pane, expressing concern on recent developments on the on-going peace negotiations between the government and the MILF in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The mayor was prompted to write Leonen in view of a banner news item in one national daily entitled “Gov’t, MILF nearing peace pact” stating among others that “the two sides are closing in on a framework agreement, outlining the steps, or roadmap, to finalize a peace pact”. The same story anticipated the signing of the deal within the week if the four-day talks (Oct. 2-5) and extended two days more in Malaysia were successful.

“We are very concerned about these recent developments. As we have conveyed to you (and the GPNP) in our meetings in Zamboanga City and through several letters, it has always been the consistent position of the City that the peace process should be transparent and meaningfully and genuinely consultative with the people, the local government units and the stakeholders, especially respecting the sentiments of the residents of this City, before any agreement is to be entered into between the GPNP and the MILF”, the mayor said in his letter stressing to Leoneon “that was your commitment”.

On August 15, 2011, a week before the August 22, 2011 exploratory talks in Malaysia, Lobregat also wrote the GPNP chairman calling upon the latter’s commitment that the city shall first be “informed and consulted before the finalization and submission of the position paper and/or counter-proposals of the government to the MILF as it would certainly be meaningless and contrary to your pronouncement if the government’s draft position paper is finalized and submitted to the MILF before the stakeholders, specifically the local government units in Mindanao, are consulted”.

Lobregat also on April 28, 2012 wrote Leonen again, at that time, concenring news that there was already a breakthrough in the peace process with the signing of an agreement containing the “Ten (10) Common Points” setting the “framework for the eventual signing of a peace agreement” between the government and the MILF.

Lobregat emphasized that the City of Zamboanga appreciates the fact that Leonen and Secretary Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and some panel members and staff came to Zamboanga last May 17-18, 2012 for a meeting and dialogue with city officials and the various stakeholders of the city regarding the so-called 10 common points agreement.

Corollary to the April 28, 2012 letter, the mayor also wrote Leonen and Sec. Deles on May 30, 2012 enumerating and summarizing the “decision points” and “position, issues and recommendations” highlighted from the May 17, 2012 executive session with the City officials.

“Given this recent news, we would like to reiterate that the stakeholders and local government units, particularly the City of Zamboanga, should first be informed and consulted before agreements are entered into, initialled and/or signed”, Lobregat pointed out, adding “we are once again reiterating our anticipated cordial invitation you and the GPHP’s return to the city of Zamboanga for continuing consultations before any other major agreements are entered into by the GPHP and the MILF”.

In his pronouncement aired over national television yesterday noon, President Aquino declared that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is a failed experiment. He said the framework agreement will be subjected to a plebiscite.

The president said the framework agreement will be published in the Gazette as he enjoined all stakeholders to join discussions on the new agreement with the MILF. — Sheila Covarrubias