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MILF unprepared for elections, says former chief peace negotiator

by: March 19, 2014 6:59 pm Category: Peace Process, Top Stories A+ / A-

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/19 March) – A former chair of the government peace panel in talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Wednesday expressed apprehensions it might be premature to hold an early plebiscite and elections for the Bangsamoro.

“The MILF is not ready yet to plunge into some political exercise,” Jesus Dureza, chair of the government peace panel (2001 to 2003) and Presidential Assistant for Mindanao during the Arroyo administration, said in a statement to MindaNews.

“Kagi (Ebrahim Al Haj) Murad and the MILF are not yet prepared politically. They need more time to ripen. They will stand no chance at all if pitted against the savvy and long entrenched politicians,” he warned.

Murad is the chair of the MILF.

“MILF should not ever think that they will get the political positions in the new Bangsamoro entity in a silver platter in an open election. It is also a mistake for the MILF to rely totally on President Aquino to win the public vote. He will be a lameduck president by then, just like all others,” Dureza further cautioned.

Dureza, also the former secretary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), said “the short preparation for the holding of the plebiscite (2015) and the elections (2016) may be fatal.”

“They may have succeeded in getting an agreement. But it may not work on the ground as envisioned. If there is still time, that transition period should be further extended. But all is not lost if no changes are made before the March 27 signing. Congress is still empowered to move the periods when it acts on the proposed organic law to implement the agreement. There is still a way,” he added.

Dureza’s statement came a week after OPAPP Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles announced the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro will be signed on March 27, and the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will be submitted to the President on March 31.

The BBL is being drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, a body created through an executive order in December 2012 with eight members from the MILF and seven from the government. It is headed by MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal.

After Congress passes the BBL and Aquino signs it, the law will be submitted to a plebiscite in areas proposed for inclusion in the Bangsamoro that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The plebiscite will take place in the Bangsamoro core territory which includes the current ARMM provinces and Marawi City; the cities of Cotabato and Isabela; the six municipalities in Lanao del Norte that voted for inclusion in the ARMM in the 2001 plebiscite (Baloi, Munai, Pantar, Nunungan, Tagaloan, and Tangkal); and the barangays in the six municipalities of North Cotabato province that likewise voted for inclusion in 2001 (Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigkawayan, Pikit, and Midsayap).

Other contiguous areas where the local government unit approves a resolution for inclusion or at least 10 percent of the qualified voters sign a petition may also join the plebiscite. (MindaNews)

MILF unprepared for elections, says former chief peace negotiator Reviewed by on . MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/19 March) – A former chair of the government peace panel in talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Wednesday expresse MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/19 March) – A former chair of the government peace panel in talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Wednesday expresse Rating: