GPH-MILF Implementing Team to meet in KL in early August

CAMP DARAPANAN, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao (MindaNews /21 July) — The government (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will formally resume the Bangsamoro peace process with a meeting of the 10-member GPH-MILF Implementing Team in Kuala Lumpur in early August, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim said.

The joint implementing team, composed of five representatives from the GPH and five from the MILF, is expected to discuss their joint peace roadmap in accordance with the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and in convergence with the 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA) between government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and other sectors for what would be a broader, more inclusive Bangsamoro Peace roadmap.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Sec. Jesus Dureza meets with Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim on Thursday to discuss the continuation of the implementation phase of the peace process at the MILF's headquarters in Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. MindaNews photo by KEITH BACONGCO
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Sec. Jesus Dureza meets with Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim on Thursday to discuss the continuation of the implementation phase of the peace process at the MILF’s headquarters in Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. MindaNews photo by KEITH BACONGCO

Dureza’s visit to the MILF camp came three days after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the peace roadmap he presented in a meeting in Malacanang which provides that work on the new proposed Bangsamoro enabling law “will be done simultaneous with the moves to shift to a federal set-up, the latter expected to come later under the planned timeline.”

The 15-member MILF-led Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), composed of eight members nominated by the MILF and seven nominated by the government, will be reconstituted and will be tasked to draft a “more inclusive” enabling law that will be filed with Congress” in lieu of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that was not passed by the previous Congress.

The new draft envisions the “consolidation and/or convergence” of the various peace agreements already entered into – the CAB, the FPA, “including relevant provisions” of RA 9054 or the law governing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the Indigenous People’s Rights Acts (IPRA).”

Going KL?

Responding to a query on attendance in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Dureza told MindaNews Thursday afternoon that he would invite Senator Aquilino Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez Jr., to also grace the formal resumption in Kuala Lumpur.

Dureza, Pimentel and Alvarez are attending the opening of the first round of formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF) on August 20 in Oslo, Norway.

Malaysia has been facilitating the talks since 2001 while Norway is facilitating the GPH-NDF peace process.

Dureza flew to this town early Thursday morning for a breakfast meeting with Murad and the MILF Central Committee at the conference room of the MILF Central Committee Convention Hall but the two later moved to the office of Murad across the hall, with Undersecretary Diosita Andot of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and lawyer Abdul Dataya of the MILF’s Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG).

After their private conversations, Dureza and Murad returned to the conference room where they sat again across the table with members of the MILF Central Committee and Dureza’s delegation, and responded to reporters’ queries.

GPH-MILF Implementing Team

Dureza said the government will constitute its team “to counterpart the MILF team and we will schedule a formal big event for the so-called resumption (of the peace process).”

The government side  in the Implementing Team will be led by Undersecretary Andot, Dureza told MindaNews Thursday afternoon.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and other officials of government and the MILF clench their fists ala President Duterte, for a souvenir photo after Dureza met with Murad and the MILF Central Committee in Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao early morning Friday, 21 July 2016. MindaNews photo by KEITH BACONGCO
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and other officials of government and the MILF clench their fists ala President Duterte, for a souvenir photo after Dureza met with Murad and the MILF Central Committee in Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao early morning Friday, 21 July 2016. MindaNews photo by KEITH BACONGCO

Dureza suggested to Murad that they resume ahead of the GPH-NDF talks. He proposed “first or second week” of August. Murad agreed.

He said the formal resumption will be in Kuala Lumpur because “we would like to give credit to Malaysia. Mag-schedule tayo ceremonial mag resume doon, that’s already our expression of appreciation.”

Asked how many will compose the implementing team, Dureza said Murad has five so the government will also have five.

Murad said he hopes they have five each “kasi ayaw naming ma displace yung iba na nandoon na” (we do not want to displace those who are already there.”

The two parties negotiated for 17 years, from 1997 until the signing of the CAB on March 27, 2014. The implementation phase started shortly thereafter but was bogged down by the non-passage of the BBL.

As agreed upon by the two parties, the BBL’s passage was supposed to have paved the way for the creation of a new autonomous political entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

BTC expansion

Dureza also said he planned to raise the membership of the BTC from 15 to 21 but he and Murad agreed to leave this decision to the implementing team. Whatever the number will be, the MILF will still be the majority, they said.

Asked when the Executive Order on the reconstituted BTC will come out, Dureza said “wala pa” (none yet) but added, “we have to compose as soon as possible already.”

The government and MILF will submit to President Duterte a list of their respective nominees to the BTC.

Dureza said the seven nominees of government will include representatives from MNLF, ARMM, “maybe the Sultanates, maybe the IPs there.”

He explained that the peace roadmap “really talks convergence of all groups already and … after they converge they will be the one to determine what is the road to take by the Bangsamoro, not for other people but the Bangsamoro itself. That’s the concept of self-determination. Sila na ang mag-decide”

Federalism

Dureza also explained the Bangsamoro and federalism tracks.

“I have already stated very clearly. Yung Bangsamoro federal set-up is uniquely Bangsamoro eh. It cannot be the same with the other federal states,” hes aid.

He explained that this is the reason why they hope the pending issues on constitutionality be resolved so that the parties can proceed accordingtly.

He cited the cases filed against the CAB and the 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) also between government and the MILF.

He said he hopes the issues of constitutionality would be resolved by the Supreme Court. “If we can clear it (as) early as possible, the road is cleared already for us,’ Dureza said.

If there is no ruling yet and there are constitutional issues raised while working on the enabling law, Dureza proposed that these provisions be “parked” first “para i-install natin yang uniquely Bangsamoro concept where we amend the Constitution para it will be compliant.”

“Dapat nga sabi ko i-adjust natin ang federal concept na Bangsamoro-compliant so mauna talaga na i-approve muna ang (enabling law),” Dureza said.

He explained they are not using “BBL” anymore because what would be drafted would be a new Bangsamoro enabling law.

He said once this is passed, the governance unit — the Bangsamoro – “will serve as a test bed for the federal set up later on.”

The Bangsamoro “can be a pilot” for federalism “and we would like to see this really succeed” so other groups can say “pwede pala” (it can be done), Dureza said. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

  • mcku_lay

    why in Malaysia?????

  • mcku_lay

    Why always in Malaysia??? Is it true that these people are Malaysian acting as Filipino Muslims????