GPH negotiator with MILF says gov’t truce with MNLF complied with PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 20 September 2013 11:32

The government’s chief negotiator with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front said Thursday those who speak about Malacañang’s alleged non-compliance with the 1996 truce with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) are unaware of the true ramifications of the Mindanao Moro issue and the real issue on the ground.

“They spoke from ignorance,” said Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chair of the government panel negotiating with the MILF.

Ferrer said the thought of the deadly forays of the followers of Nur Misuari in Zamboanga City kept hounding her and members of her panel since the 40th exploratory talks in Malaysia started on September 10.

“We were relieved that after more than a week of mayhem resulting from the attacks of forces loyal to MNLF leader Nur Misuari the violence has dissipated and the task of rebuilding Zamboanga City can now begin,” Ferrer said in an emailed statement.

The government and MILF panels are slated to wind up the 10-day formal talks in Malaysia on Friday (Sept.20).

Coronel also brushed aside as a pointblank “shot from the hip” the insinuations that the government is employing a “divide-and-rule” tactic to widen the factional divides among the different groups in the MNLF.

The once monolithic MNLF signed a final peace pact on Sept. 2, 1996 with the government, then under President Fidel Ramos.

The MNLF is ranting on the government’s alleged non-compliance with certain provisions of the accord, now subject of tripartite review involving representatives of the group, government officials, and the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation.

Ferrer said those who speak recklessly against how the government is dealing with the MNLF and how it handles the security problems besetting now Zamboanga City obviously lack understanding on how complex the so-called Mindanao issue is.

“They missed out on what was common sense to a lot of ordinary people: that Misuari had been given the chance to prove his worth as a leader of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, but failed,” Coronel said.

Coronel said the now 17-year GPH-MNLF peace agreement had largely been implemented, even resulting to the expansion of the ARMM through amendments in its original charter, Republic Act 6734, which eventually became R.A. 9054.

Coronel said one proof of the government’s ompliance with the peace agreement was the creation of the Misuari-led Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development, which served as the transitory mechanism for the ARMM’s expansion.

The ARMM originally covered only the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, grouped into one “autonomous region” as a result of the ratification, through a plebiscite in 1990, of the region’s first charter ever, the Republic Act 6734.

Basilan, originally under Administrative Region 9, and Marawi City, a component area of Region 12, became component areas of ARMM when its residents voted in favor of the inclusion of the two areas into the autonomous region in another plebiscite administered in 2001 in keeping with the provisions of the 1996 GPH-MNLF accord.

Coronel said the on-going government-MILF talks, which started January 7, 1997, has also been as inclusive, as ordered by President Benigno Aquino III.

“From the beginning, among the President’s orders, is that the peace talks with the MILF be inclusive,” Coronel said.