Tengku on GPH, MILF: “same paragraph now”

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (MindaNews/9 August) – “On the same paragraph now, but it’s still a long paragraph,” Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed summed up to MindaNews Thursday the progress of the first three days of the August 7 to 11 peace negotiations here between the Philippine government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

At the end of the talks on July 18, Tengku told MindaNews that the two panels were still on the same page but were moving closer to the same paragraph. Last month was the 29th Exploratory Talks since the 2003 war but the 10th under the two-year-old Aquino administration.

Tengku, who has been facilitator since April last year, has likened the peace negotiations to reading a book.

At the Bangsamoro Leaders’ Assembly at the MILF Camp in Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on July 7 – a gathering attended by thousands of Moro delegates from various parts of Mindanao, foreign dignitaries, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles and GPH peace panel chair Marvic Leonen – Tengku said that last year, the two panels were “not only reading different chapters; they were reading different books.”

The talks nearly collapsed a year ago, on August 23, when the MILF peace panel rejected the GPH draft “3 for one” peace proposal, and the GPH panel “rejected the rejection” barely three weeks after the historic meeting of President Benigno Simeon Aquino and MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in Narita, Japan. The two leaders had agreed to fast-track the peace process so that an agreement could be signed within the first half of the Aquino administration and implementation can be done before the President bows out of office on June 30, 2016.

“Today, they are now reading the same chapter,” Tengku said on July 7, as he expressed hope that “by end of July, (the two panels) would be reading the same paragraph.”

On July 17 in Kuala Lumpur, at the end of the second day of the talks, Tengku told MindaNews the panels “are on the same page now but different paragraphs.”

The next day, he said the two panels were still on the same page but were moving closer to the same paragraph.”

Same paragraph

On August 9, he told MindaNews the panels were now “on the same paragraph” but added “it’s still a long paragraph.”

The two panels are presently working on crafting a framework agreement that they hope to sign within the next few weeks.

This week’s August 7 to 11 talks is the 11th under the Aquino administration and the 10th handled by Tengku. The formal exploratory talks under the Aquino Presidency were held in February, April, August and December 2011 and every month since January 2012 except in June.

On April 24, the parties signed their first major agreement under the Aquino administration – the 10-point “Decision Points on Principles” which provides, among others, for the setting up of a new autonomous political entity in place of the 22-year-old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

But both panels have agreed that the ARMM elections, originally scheduled August 8, 2011 but synchronized to May 13, 2013, would proceed as scheduled in 2013, while the Transition Commission works on the transition from the ARMM to the new entity.

Timetables

A careful examination of the timetables, however, would show that panels will be racing against time because like all other peace agreements, parts of the agreement they will sign, including setting up a Transition Commission, would require legislation.

The reality that the two panels have to contend with, however, is that there are only a few Congressional session days left before the campaign period for the May 2013 elections begins.

The filing of certificates of candidacy for all elective positions in the May 2013 polls is on October 1 to 5 this year, according to the Commission on Elections’ Resolution 9385.

Congress’ legislative calendar shows that the ongoing sessions will end on September 21 and will resume on October 8. It will again adjourn on October 20 and resume on November 5. It will then go on Christmas break from December 22 to January 20, 2013. Sessions will resume on January 21, adjourn on February 9 and resume on June 6.

The 90-day campaign period for senatorial candidates and party list groups is from February 12 to May 11, 2013 while the 45-day campaign period for candidates for the House of Representatives, provincial, city and municipal officials as well as the ARMM is from March 29 to May 11. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/peace-process/2012/08/10/tengku-on-gph-milf-same-paragraph-now/


Instagram #OurMindanao

Related Posts