Northcot folks reaffirm support to GPH-MILF talks PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 13:12

The North Cotabato provincial government is optimistic the now 17-year peace overture between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front will gain more momentum with the completion of the last of the four annexes to the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB).

The government and MILF peace panels crafted and signed over the weekend, after several days of negotiations in Malaysia, the normalization annex and the addendum on control and management of the Bangsamoro territorial waters.

The FAB is the basis for the setting up of a new Bangsamoro political entity in Southern Mindanao.

The FAB is comprised of four annexes, on transitional arrangement and modalities, on wealth sharing, on power sharing, and on normalization, which both parties are to use as guides in the setting up of a politically and administratively empowered MILF-led Bangsamoro entity.

The new political mechanism will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which covers Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, which are both in mainland Mindanao, and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

“Now we can see, this early, a fruitful completion of the peace talks,” North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza said on Tuesday.

Mendoza said the inter-agency provincial peace and order council, whose members include representatives from North Cotabato’s cross-section communities, have been very supportive of Malacañang’s peace talks with MILF. The governor is the presiding chairperson of the council.

“We commend both peace panels for their untiring work and unwavering commitment to forge the four annexes to the FAB in order to move forward, onward to lasting peace in Mindanao,” Mendoza said.

Like its neighbor, Maguindanao province in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, North Cotabato, which has 17 towns, and whose capital is Kidapawan City, is also host to dozens of MILF camps.

The province also has several “peace zones,“ where members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) reside.

“As inhabitants of North Cotabato in particular, and of Mindanao in general, we believe that a comprehensive compact between the government and the MILF will translate into positive changes in the lives of the people in the proposed Bangsamoro territory,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said local government units in North Cotabato, incumbent elected officials, and their respective constituents, will continue to help push the GPH-MILF negotiations forward.

“There is a big bulk of work yet to be done in implementing the provisions of a comprehensive Bangsamoro truce. We should help one another in seeing to it that its provisions are implemented as agreed by both parties,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said Moro, Christian and highland communities in North Cotabato do not want a repeat of the bloody government-MILF conflict that rocked the province in 2000, and, subsequently, in 2003, and in 2008, which dislocated thousands of local residents.

Mendoza said the province has been gaining much, in terms of improvements in its business and investment climate, from the absence of military-MILF hostilities in the area for about four years now.

“Surely, more valuable dividends of the peace process will be felt in the province soon, as the GPH-MILF talks gains more momentum,” she said.