Iqbal, Mastura, Alonto retained in MILF peace panel; Iqbal remains as panel chair

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/13 September) – Three of the five-member peace panel of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that negotiated a political settlement with the Philippine government under the Arroyo administration will continue to serve in the panel that will negotiate with the government under the two-month old Aquino administration.

Mohagher Iqbal, who chaired the panel since late July 2003 when MILF vice chair for military affairs Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, then the peace panel chair, assumed the post of MILF chair following the death of Salamat Hashim, will continue to chair the panel, the MILF’s website, luwaran.com said in an early morning post today.

Also retained are senior panel member Datu Michael Mastura and panel member Maulana Alonto.

The MILF peace panel that last negotiated with the Philippine government was composed of Iqbal, Mastura, Alonto and lawyers Lanang Ali and Musib Buat.

Ali and Buat have been replaced “purely for health reasons,” the report posted on the MILF website said.

“Both lawyers underwent heart bypasses and are deemed unfit for long travel, hectic schedules, and strenuous, prolonged, and tiring negotiations,” it added.

In their stead, Abdullah Camlian, former head of the MILF peace panel’s technical committee and Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga, executive director of the Institute of Bangsamoro Studies will take over.

B’laan datu Antonio Kinoc of Columbio, Sulltan Kudarat, a former member of the MILF peace panel’s technical working group and an alternate member of the panel representing the indigenous peoples, will also continue to serve as alternate member.

In an earlier posting, the MILF Central Committee said that in choosing their new peace panel, three prerequisites were followed: “ unwavering commitment to the Moro cause;  knows the ideological, political, and organizational line of the MILF; and, capability to engage in serious and in-depth discussion of issues.”

“In addition, experience is also given very important consideration in the selection of the new MILF peace panel. The MILF also stressed the need for moral incorruptibility of those composing the peace panel, saying every member thereof is faced with all sorts of trials and intrigues that anyone of low moral stuff will not be able to withstand,” it said.

In today’s announcement, luwaran.com.said the MILF “also formed a board of consultants.”

Apparently reacting to criticisms that the panel is “all-male” again, the report quoted Mohammad Ameen, chair of the MILF Secretariat, as saying the board “will be made up two women, a representative of the indigenous tribes, one Islamic theologian, or what is commonly referred to as ‘aleem’ or ‘ulama,’ one from Lanao, and another from Western Mindanao.

The two women, according to Ameen, will come from “Western Mindanao and Central Mindanao.”

“The names of the members are not yet available as of press time and are still the subject of further deliberations by the MILF Central Committee,” the report added.”(Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/peace-process/2010/09/13/iqbal-mastura-alonto-retained-in-milf-peace-panel-iqbal-remains-as-panel-chair/

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