OIC backs implementation of GPH-MILF framework deal PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 15 December 2013 16:36

Conakry, GUINEA  – The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) expressed its support to the full implementation of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and called for the integration of peace gains achieved in the 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA) with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

In a resolution adopted during the 40th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers held on December 9 to 11 here, the body urged the OIC Secretary General “to exert his efforts to find common grounds between the Parties to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the 1996 Agreement on the implementation of the 1976 Peace Agreement and develop a mechanism to ensure that the gains of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement on the implementation of the 1976 Peace Agreement are preserved and the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and its Annexes are fully implemented with the end goal of integrating the gains achieved in these peace agreements in the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”

Signed by the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in October 2012, the FAB serves as the blueprint for the establishment of the Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The Bangsamoro Basic Law, once ratified, will enable the entrenchment of the new region.

The OIC also recognized “the peace efforts between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for reaching a comprehensive agreement that would help improvement of the situation of Muslims in Mindanao region” and hoped that the FAB “would be concluded in line with 1976 Tripoli Peace Agreement.”

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Rafael Seguis, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace   Process Undersecretary Jose Lorena, Office of the Executive Secretary Undersecretary Nabil Tan, Philippine Ambassador to Nigeria Alex Lamadrid, and Atty. Zoilo A. Velasco of DFA represented the Philippine government in the OIC meeting.

Seguis remarked that based on the OIC resolution, “it seems that the organization is accepting the FAB as the framework or mechanism for convergence of the two peace tracks with the MNLF and the MILF.”

The OIC sits as an observer in the GPH-MILF peace negotiations. It also facilitates the Tripartite Implementation Review of the 1996 FPA between the government and the MNLF.

“The OIC apparently is accepting already the convergence framework being proposed by the GPH,” Seguis added.

Meanwhile, he confirmed that MNLF faction chair Nur Misuari, who has a standing warrant of arrest in the Philippines, “was not present in the meeting and there was no MNLF delegation that showed up.”

Next tripartite meet

Seguis, who had an opportunity to deliver a statement at the plenary, appealed to the OIC members to support the continuation of the 5th Tripartite Implementation Review meeting. The said meeting, which was supposed to be held last Sept. 16, was postponed upon the request of Misuari “due to the incident in Zamboanga City.”

“The Government is committed to pursue the implementation of the substantive agreements reached by the parties during the Tripartite Implementation Review,” he said adding that the FAB, which was signed last year, envisions a future Bangsamoro region that is “neither exclusive to the MNLF nor the MILF.”

The holding of the next tripartite meeting was supported by the OIC who, in its statement, called on its Secretary General and the Peace Committee for Southern Philippines (PCSP) to hold another session of the tripartite meeting to overcome “pending major difficulties.”

New GPH-MILF milestone

Seguis also conveyed to the OIC the recent milestone in the Philippine peace process with the signing of the GPH-MILF power-sharing agreement.

“The Annex on Power-Sharing recently signed already opens up the possibility of converging the achievements of both GPH-MNLF and GPH-MILF peace processes, setting a path for a coordinated implementation of both peace agreements for the benefit of the entire Bangsamoro,” he stated.

Quoting from the last provision of the annex, he pointed out that it calls on the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to “undertake an inventory of the powers and consider the proposed recommendations from the review process of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement for possible inclusion in to the Bangsamoro Basic Law…”

The GPH and the MILF will hold their next round of talks in January to finalize the remaining annex on normalization and an addendum on the Bangsamoro waters. The BTC for its part has been conducting consultations with various stakeholders of the Bangsamoro in drafting the Basic Law.

“The opportunity for a genuine and comprehensive peace in Mindanao is just within arm’s reach. We ask OIC’s help in realizing this, mindful of the new realities and of no less than the best interest of the entire Bangsamoro people,” said Seguis.