Framework Agreement not perfect but ‘best alternative’ – MILF

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 4 Dec) – Although it is not a perfect document, the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) is “the best alternative” for the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to agree that there must be a lasting peace in Mindanao, MILF’s Jun Mantawil said in a forum held here Monday afternoon.

Mantawil, who heads the MILF panel secretariat, said everyone must support the FAB, which according to him is a “document of peace.”

He cited that among its challenges is the concern on power sharing, “that should be clearly defined” in one of the annexes of the peace pact.

“We just hope that we will have a genuine autonomy with the FAB,” Mantawil said, noting that the Bangsamoro should have an economic autonomy.

He also mentioned that they don’t want to create a minority or majority in the Bangsamoro, but one nation.

Lawyer Raissa Jajurie, of the MILF peace panel’s board of consultants, also said at the forum that  the FAB has yet to be filled with more substances by the Transition Commission (TransCom), which shall be created through an Executive Order.

The challenges with the TransCom, she continued, are “who will compose it” and “what will its dynamics be,” wondering if it would still be a negotiation like what the two panels are doing.

Jajurie noted that although the basic law that will govern the Bangsamoro by 2016 will be drafted by the TransCom based on the final comprehensive agreement, the exact composition of Congress by the time is yet to be known.

She added that if the draft basic law would be submitted to Congress during the May 2013 elections, there may be a different dynamics between the executive and legislative branches of the Philippine government.

The FAB states that the basic law shall be certified as an urgent bill by the President and ratified by the qualified voters within its territory.

Jajurie said her appeal is for people to “suspend a little disbelief” and put more hope in the peace process, otherwise “it will never take off.”

The forum was initiated by the Bishops-Ulama Conference as a part of the activities for this year’s Mindanao Week of Peace.

For the part of the government, lawyer Chito Gascon, undersecretary of the Office of Political Affairs, explained the FAB earlier in the forum. In the morning, Gascon discussed the FAB with the members of the Davao Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) in a special meeting here.

The RPOC chair, Davao del Norte Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario, said that Region 11 is committed to support the President on the FAB towards the realization of a lasting peace.

“We would like to be helpful to them in trying to be able to espouse the framework here in our region by way of clarifying certain issues with the members of the panel,” he told reporters after the closed door meeting.

In the meeting, he said there was an open forum and dialogue with the local government units of the region, together with the military, police, and other members of the RPOC.

Among the concerns collated by the RPOC from different LGUs in the region is the decommissioning of the MILF, which is a slow process, and that the negotiating panels have a road map towards such goal, he cited.

The meeting was pushed through a council resolution requesting an audience with the government panel engaged in the peace talks with the MILF.

The RPOC compiled legal opinions from the security sector and the LGUs concerned in preparation for the meeting.

“Mindanaoan leaders would like to help the government panel explain the terms of the framework to our people, and we can best do that if we ourselves are privy to some details either expressed or implied in the framework, and by implied, we mean, the probable annexes that shall be borne out of this concrete piece of political document,” Del Rosario said in his opening remarks. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro / MindaNews)

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/peace-process/2012/12/05/framework-agreement-not-perfect-but-best-alternative-milf/

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