Tengku on GPH, MILF: same page, same word but …

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 11 August) – The Malaysian facilitator in the peace process between the Philippine government(GPH)and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said he never doubted that the 10-day “workshop” to craft a “mutually acceptable” draft Bangsamoro Basic Law would yield positive results despite all signs pointing to an impasse on major issues.

“Every cloud has a silver lining,” Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed, told MindaNews on Sunday morning at the lobby café at the Waterfront Insular Hotel.

Tengku arrived on Friday afternoon not as facilitator but as an “observer.” But he did meet with panel chairs Miriam Coronel-Ferrer of GPH and Mohagher Iqbal of the MilF separately and together on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

He told MindaNews he observed and listened to the two parties but was confident that despite what seemed like very difficult challenges, “there will be that silver lining.”

Although Tengku did not say it, a major factor that prevented the impasse was the arrival Sunday afternoon of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa who met separately with the government and MILF chairs (see main story).

Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed, MindaNews photo by Carolyn O. Arguillas

Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed, MindaNews photo by Carolyn O. Arguillas

Tengku said the panels are now “on the same page and same word” but have to consult a dictionary “or better still, a thesaurus,” for the most appropriate definition, as some words are interpreted differently by the parties.

Tengku likened the GPH-MILF peace process to a book in 2012.

At the opening of the Bangsamoro Leaders’ Assembly at the MILF camp in Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on July 7, 2012, a gathering attended by thousands of Moro delegates from various parts of Mindanao, foreign dignitaries, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles and then GPH peace panel chair Marvic Leonen, Tengku said that in 2011, the two panels were “not only reading different chapters; they were reading different books.”
“Today, they are now reading the same chapter,” as he expressed hope that “by end of July that year, they would be reading the same paragraph.”
Ten days later, in Kuala Lumpur, he said the panels were “on the same page now, but different paragraphs.”
On August 9 that same year, Tengku said the panels were “on the same paragraph now, but it’s still a long paragraph.”

By evening of October 6, the panels were already on the same page and same sentence with the completion of what would be the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) that was initialed in Kuala Lumpur days before the formal signing on October 15, 2012 in Malacanang.

Tengku told MindaNews that the panels were on the same page and even the same word but have to “consult the dictionary or the thesaurus” on what definition is most appropriate so “they can finish the book.”

He said everybody is looking at the GPH-MILF peace process, a process he earlier described as the Philippines’ second most important contribution to the world, after the 1986 People Power.

The Marcos dictatorship was toppled by People Power in February 1986 and a new President, Corazon Aquino – mother of the incumbent President, Benigno Simeon Aquino III – was installed under a newly-restored democracy.

He acknowledged that time is running short in the run-up to June 30, 2016, the day President Aquino steps down and the Bangsamoro political entity is supposed to be set up but said he is confident that despite the challenges, “with the commitment of both parties, they will get past these humps.”

The government and MILF peace panels announced in a press conference Sunday evening that they would complete the “mutually acceptable” draft Bangsamoro Basic Law by August 18, 2014 “in sha Allah” (God willing).

The parties signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in the gardens of Malacanang on March 27, 2014. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/peace-process/2014/08/11/tengku-on-gph-milf-same-page-same-word-but-looking-for-best-definition/

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