GRP panel prepares for peace talks with MILF

“The government wants more community consultations and the implementation of peace projects to complement the peace talks,” said Gutierrez.

The members of the new panel and some top government officials were in the meeting that was off limits to reporters.

The President did not issue any statement to the media afterwards. She was reportedly here for the launching of a “government-church pro-poor program.”

Ms Arroyo visited the church’s gymnasium and watched children being fed with porridge and a medical mission serving residents.  The program also gave out a package that contained rice, noodles and canned goods to 1,000 poor families.

The President disbanded the  government peace panel September last year, a month after Moro rebels attacked civilian communities in Lanao del Norte and in North Cotabato. The attacks came after the aborted signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the government and MILF panels.

A member of the newly- reconstituted government peace panel said in a radio interview that the peace process “now has directions,” expressing hopes that the new set of government negotiators can finally forge a peace deal with the MILF.

Adelbert W. Antonino, who was once mayor of General Santos City and also formerly congressional representative of the first district of South Cotabato, noted that four of five members of the new panel are from Mindanao. Thus, he stressed, they “know and understand” the issue well.

The new peace panel is headed by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis. His members are Antonino,  Agrarian Reforms Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, former Party-List Congressman Ronald Adamat, a Teduray; and lawyer and businessman Tomas Cabili of Iligan City. (MindaNews)

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