Advocates warn derailment of GPH-MILF peace talks due to Sabah conflict

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 March) – Peace advocates warned Thursday a possible derailment of the peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) because of alleged interested groups that are riding on the Sabah issue.

Rev. L. Daniel Alba Pantoja, president of the Peacebuilders Community, said in a rally at the Freedom Park here his group believes that there is a “force behind” the Sultanate of Sulu’s claim of Sabah.

Many would lose their businesses from the culture of war as wealth and power landscape will change in the culture of peace, Pantoja said.

He said he was able to talk with Sulu’s Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, who rarely spoke as there was someone who did most of the talking in Kiram’s behalf. He said the Peacebuilders, a peace building arm of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, supports the resumption of peace talks without being derailed by the Sabah crisis.

RESUME TALKS. Members of civil society organizations and the Armed Forces of the Philippines gather at the Freedom Park in Davao City on Thursday, March 21 to call for the resumption of the peace talks between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and to "separate it from the Sabah problem" so as not to derail the peace process brokered by the Malaysian government. MindaNews photo by Ruby Thursday More

RESUME TALKS. Members of civil society organizations and the Armed Forces
of the Philippines gather at the Freedom Park in Davao City on Thursday, March 21 to call for the resumption of the peace talks between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and to “separate it from the Sabah problem” so as not to derail the peace process brokered by the Malaysian government. MindaNews photo by Ruby Thursday More

Should both parties complete the peace process, he explained, then they would be able to extend their capacity to settle other issues such as that on Sabah. He added that while the government continues with the peace talks, there is still a need to provide relief for the Filipinos affected in Sabah, and to create a committee or commission that will focus on the issue.

Datuan Magon, deputy secretary general of the United Youth for Peace and Development, also at the rally, said the protest action aimed to pressure both sides – the Philippine government and the MILF – to resume the peace talks, preserve the gains of the peace process, and resolve the issue on Sabah peacefully.

Magon said some 300 Moro youth held a rally at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in Manila last Wednesday to show their support for the peace talks. He said the OPAPP assured them that it will pursue the talks and will resolve the Sabah conflict separately.

Both the government and the MILF are optimistic to resume talks by the end of the month to continue discussion on the annexes of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, particularly on power sharing, wealth sharing and normalization.

Both parties signed the annex on transitional arrangements and modalities last February 27 during their exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur.

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal reportedly said the Sabah conflict is a security issue, which is separate from the peace process. He said the peace talks will proceed as scheduled before the end of March.

Lawyer Mary Ann Arnado, secretary general of the Mindanao People’s Caucus, said both sides had expressed optimism to continue the talks, adding that there was no issue with Malaysia, which has been acting as the third party facilitator of the GPH-MILF peace talks.

The rally, she said, aimed to call all people in Mindanao to unite, “rally behind the effort to protect the gains of the GPH-MILF peace talks.” She pointed out that the “spoilers” who are riding on the Sabah issue are “counterproductive”, adding that they will not allow interested groups to derail the talks as a lot of time, resources, trust, confidence and relationships have already been invested into the peace process. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro / MindaNews)

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/peace-process/2013/03/21/advocates-warn-derailment-of-gph-milf-peace-talks-due-to-sabah-conflict/


Instagram #OurMindanao

Related Posts