GPH, MILF end nego on Framework Agreement to set up ‘Bangsamoro’

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KUALA LUMPUR (MindaNews/07 October) –  The Philippine government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will announce before noon today (Sunday) that it has concluded negotiations on the  Framework Agreement that will serve as their roadmap in establishing a new autonomous political entity that would honor the dignity of and address the legitimate grievances and claims of the Bangsamoro people.

The panels worked overtime Saturday to finish the Framework Agreement, clocking 13 hours to finish the remaining contentious issues by 10:40 p.m.

It was the longest day in the history of the GPH-MILF peace negotiations under the two-year Aquino administration.  This round of talks, the 32nd since the 2003 war but the 13th under the Aquino administration, is  also the longest in terms of session days, from October 2 to 8.

Both panel chairs – Marvic Leonen of the GPH and Mohagher Iqbal of the MILF —  kept mum that a deal had been sealed Saturday night.

MindaNews learned the name of the “new autonomous political entity” would be simply “Bangsamoro.”  No other details were made available until the announcement.

The text of the Framework Agreement will be published first before the document is signed.  The venue of the signing  — Manila or Kuala Lumpur – has yet to be determined.

But Malacanang preempted the announcement of a deal when it issued early Sunday morning a media advisory that President Aquino “will be issuing a statement today, Oct. 7 (Sunday), 12:45 p.m., at the President’s Hall,  Malacanan Palace.”

The concluding session was scheduled at 10:30 a.m. but as of 11 a.m., Leonen and the MILF peace were not yet in the vicinity of the State Room of the Palace of hte Golden Horses, the venue of the negotiations.

The government peace panel members, except Leonen, arrived at the lower ground floor of the Palace of the Golden Horses, at 10:25 a.m. with Senior Military Adviser, Brig. Gen. Leo Cresente Ferrer and Senior Police Adviser, Chief Supt. Noel delos Reyes wearing their military and police uniforms.

The GPH panel members and secretariat also had Philippine flags pinned on their suits and dresses.

Wearing a Barong Tagalog, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya arrived ahead of everyone

Leonen arrived at 11:03 a.m. while the MILF panel arrived at 11:17 a.m.

The panel members along with the members of the International Contact Group have entered the State Room.

A Joint Communique is expected to be signed before noon.  (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

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