Critics joins Maguindanao FAB forum, show support to peace process PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 January 2013 14:54

Thursday’s public forum on the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) in Maguindanao’s Buluan town brought together personalities supportive of the Mindanao peace process, as well as those that rabidly stood against it, but now actively helps push Malacañang’s overtures with Southern Moro sectors forward. 

The FAB, signed October 15, 2012 by the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Malacañang, aims to establish a new autonomous political entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The mammoth public consultation, jointly organized by Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and the league of municipal mayors in the province, was supported by the office of Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chair of the government’s peace panel negotiating with the MILF.

Mangudadatu, during a plenary session that capped the forum, approved seven resolutions drafted by technical working groups from the ARMM provinces recommending to the government and MILF panels various proposals to hasten the Mindanao peace process.

One of the resolutions called on the two panels to recognize the need to involve non-Muslims and the lumad sectors, or the so-called non-Moro indigenous people, in the setting up of the proposed Bangsamoro region.

Another resolution asked the GPH and MILF panels and the five provincial governors in the autonomous region to convene and discuss the viability of involving local government units in the TransCom and the Bangsamoro Transition Authority.

Also approved by Mangudadatu were similar resolutions tasking the five ARMM provincial governors and mayors to launch information campaigns, with the help of the media, to hasten public understanding on the need to push the FAB forward as a community initiative; and urging the TransCom to conduct extensive dialogues  about the Mindanao peace process.

The MILF was represented in Thursday’s FAB forum by the chief secretariat of the group’s peace panel, Datu Jun Mantawil, who also spoke about their appreciation of the efforts of third parties in educating the local communities about the peace negotiations.

Peace talks between the government and the MILF started January 7, 1997, but collapsed in 2000, in 2003 and in 2008 due to peace and security issues that hounded many flashpoint areas in Mindanao supposedly covered by the 1997 Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities.

The thorny and contentious peace talks gained headway in recent years with the participation of foreign donors and international peace advocacy organizations, including the peacekeeping contingent International Monitoring Team, which is comprised of military officers from Malaysia, Libya, Brunei and Indonesia, and non-uniformed conflict resolution experts from Norway, Japan and the European Union.

Ferrer, who addressed thousands of participants to the FAB forum, cited the provincial government of Maguindanao for embarking on the activity, which she said would boost to the on-going GPH-MILF peace talks.

“Let’s continue helping each other in supporting the peace process,” Ferrer told thousands of participants to the forum, held at the Buluan municipal gymnasium.

The event was attended by former North Cotabato Gov. Emmanuel Piñol, South Cotabato Rep. Daisy Avance Fuentes, and Lualhati Antonino, who is chairperson of the Mindanao Development Authority, who were all critical of Malacañang’s peace overtures with Moro factions during the time of presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

ARMM’s acting governor, Mujiv Hataman, who was also at the forum, said he welcomes the participation to the activity of Piñol and the latter’s political rival, the re-electionist North Cotabato Gov.  Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, and Fuentes and Antonino.

“This is an indication that we are united in this peace process so there is no reason now for us to fail,” said Hataman.

Also present in the forum were members of the ARMM’s 27-seat Regional Assembly, and provincial governors  Sakur Tan of Sulu, Sadikul Sahali of Tawi-Tawi, Jum Akbar of Basilan, and Mamintal Adiong Jr. of Lanao del Sur.

Hataman even recalled in a speech how North Cotabato’s various communities opposed the MOA-AD, the supposed basis for the government and the MILF to set up Moro homeland the rebel group was to govern through the proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity.

The Supreme Court declared the August 5, 2008 signing of the MOA-AD as unconstitutional.

Hataman, who is running for ARMM governor in May polls, said that even if he is elected, he will be willing to step down by 2015 to give way to the Bangsamoro region under FAB.

The TransCom, created through Executive Order 120,  will oversee the implementation of the FAB and the drafting of the Basic Bangsamoro Law that would enable the creation of the Bangsamoro region.