GPH, MILF extend IMT, AHJAG tour of duty by another year

KUALA LUMPUR (MindaNews/26 January) – Barely a  day after signing the last of the four annexes to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) that would now pave the way for the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the peace panels of the Philippine government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) buckled down to work on Sunday morning by convening again at the State Room of the Palace of the Golden Horses hotel.

Government peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer told MindaNews they convened to discuss the “next steps towards the comprehensive agreement.”

The meeting began at around 10 a.m. and ended at 12:40 p.m. with both parties agreeing to continue in the Philippines the discussions on the details of what would go into the final text of the CAB.

MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal told MindaNews they already submitted their draft text for the CAB to the GPH panel through the Malaysian facilitator late Friday. “We will thresh out the details in the  Philippines,” he said.

On Friday, both panels did not appear to be on the same page as to what would go into the CAB, with Ferrer saying it was “parang introductory” and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles saying it was “parang cover.”

For Iqbal, the text of the CAB is more than just an introduction or a cover page. He told MindaNews Friday morning that there are some issues that they want clearly spelled out in the text of the CAB. He declined to elaborate.

No date has been set for the signing of the CAB but both Ferrer and Iqbal are eyeing “February or March.”

The two panels also agreed on Sunday morning to extend the tours of duty of the Malaysian-led  International Monitoring Team (IMT) and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) for another year  in recognition of their important roles in the peace process.

But the number of personnel for the IMT will be reduced a bit. Details were not made available.

The panels on January 25 last year extended the mandate of the IMT until March 2014 and the AHJAG to February 14, 2014.

The IMT is mandated to monitor the ceasefire agreements between the GPH and MILF “in order to create a conducive environment for peace negotiations and development initiatives in the conflict-affected areas of Mindanao.”  The IMT was first deployed in 2004, its mandate renewed annually.

The AHJAG on the other hand is a joint team against criminal elements operating in “MILF areas/communities, in order to pursue and apprehend such criminal elements.” The group operates in tandem with their respective Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities.”

The panels on Saturday evening signed the Annex on Normalization and the Addendum on Bangsamoro Waters and Zones of Joint Cooperation.

Under the FAB which was signed on October 15, 2012, the panels agreed that the status quo is unacceptable and that they would work for the creation of a new autonomous political entity called the Bangsamoro, to replace the 24-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM),  by June 30, 2016.

But the ARMM’s three-year term from 2013 will be cut short to give way to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) which will take over from the ARMM when the Bangsamoro Basic Law is ratified.

The FAB provides for four annexes that both parties committed to complete by yearend 2012.  But they were unable to follow their timeline. Aside from the Annex on Normalization, the Annex on Transitional Arrangements and Modalities was signed in February; the Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing in July; the Annex on Power-Sharing in December with both parties agreeing to tackle the contentious Bangsamoro Waters issue as an addendum to the annexes on power- and wealth-sharing. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/peace-process/2014/01/26/gph-milf-extend-imt-ahjag-tour-of-duty-by-another-year/

Related Posts