Mind da News: Beyond Darapanan 2012, What?

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/09 July) — The four-day Bangsamoro People’s Assembly held by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front at its Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao ended this afternoon with a press conference by MILF Chairman Al Hadj Murad Ibrahim. More than 100 Mindanao, Manila and foreign media people were expected to attend, reported Luwaran, the MILF Central Committee on Information online publication.


As reported an estimated half to a million from Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan areas as well as Manila together with invited foreign dignitaries attended the Assembly, which for convenience, is referred to in this article as “Darapanan 2012”.


Darapanan 2012 is vital to the ultimate outcome of the peace negotiation between the Philippine Government and the MILF –now in its 15th year.  The 28th Exploratory Talks last May 28-30 did not end so well as expected – in fact, the Parties did not issue the customary “Joint Statement”. No meeting was scheduled for June or soon after; the panels were to have consultations with their principals.


Darapanan 2012 is, in a sense, the MILF panel’s consultation through its principals – the Central Committee and the Chairman – with the Bangsamoro people, the avowed source of the MILF mandate. The final position of the MILF in the ongoing peace talks will be strengthened by the inputs from the leaders – most especially from the 800 or so leaders that the Chairman and the Central Committee dialogued with last Sunday, the 8th.


The dialogue was on the themes:


First: Seeking the views of the Moro leaders on how to unify their voices and actions in the face of the difficult situation of the Moros today.


Second: Seeking the views and support of the Moro leaders and the various organizations on ways to strengthen the current position of the MILF in its peace talks with the government of the Philippines (GPH).


Resource speakers at this penultimate event were the MILF Chairman and the invited guests from the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation – formerly “Conference”), the Malaysian third-party facilitator, the Secretary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.  The dialogue was open to the media and the other invited guests including elected local government officials and congressional representatives and the members of the government peace panel.


Chairman Murad will summarize the inputs of Darapanan 2012 and clarified points with media at the closing press conference today. Certainly, the media are expected to inform the country as well as the other parts of the world about what transpired at Darapanan 2012.


It is expected that the MILF will furnish the Philippine government and its peace panel official copies of its report on Darapanan 2012. The MILF peace panel will go the 29th Exploratory Talks – whenever that will be – with its position anchored on the united stand of the Bangsamoro leaders at Darapanan 2012.


It could be safely said that the MILF position is – as the cliché goes – an “open book”.  The crucial question that lies beyond Darapanan 2012 is how the Philippine government and its panel will respond to the Moro leaders’ views and what their ultimate position is after their own consultations. – (Patricio P. Diaz/MindaNews)