MILF reply to govt proposal: “Based on historical, moral ground”

Jun Mantawil, head of the MILF peace panel secretariat, issued the disclosure in a report posted on the MILF website. The reply was the MILF draft proposal on territory, after the government presented its draft to the MILF on November 10. These drafts were intended to break the impasse in the negotiations after the talks entered the topic of territory.

 

Mantawil said the MILF proposal was "very logical or reasonable based on historical, moral ground, but also pragmatic given the fact that Mindanao is presently peopled mostly by non-Muslims".

 

Mantawil did not give details of the proposal but said they perfectly blended the historical antecedents and the real ground situation.

 

The MILF,  Mantawil said in the report, "cannot agree to the claim of those whose view is that only the real situation on the ground must be given importance".

 

"This is a gross violation of our historic rights over Mindanao and Sulu and clear way of rewarding the usurpers."

 

The government proposal to break the impasse contained the government’s acquiesence to allow the issue of right to self-determination to settle their differences in the topic of territory. This position appeared to please the MILF which described as "good for the eye to see".

 

MILF chief peace negotiator, Mohagher Iqbal, said the "right to self-determination" was the "main sweetener" in the latest proposal.

 

Iqbal said this was a turnaround from the government's objection to using the phrase in the course of their negotiations that started in 1997. The MILF has always negotiated using the "right to self determination" framework but he said the government refused.

 

The government panel previously offered 613 predominantly Moro towns and villages to the proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) in addition to the core territory of the five-province, one-city Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), subject to "constitutional processes," which the MILF objected to.

 

The MILF described the status of the talks with the government as "still hanging in the balance amid stiff positioning on the proposed territory of the future Bangsamoro juridical state", the website quoted.