Teduray, Moro are 4th and 5th members in gov’t peace panel negotiating with MILF

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/28 August 2010) —  The multi-awarded Teduray,  Ramon Piang, Sr., three-term mayor and now vice mayor of Upi in Maguindanao, is the fourth member of the government peace panel in the negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) government peace panel chair Marvic Leonen, said.

Leonen,  also Dean of the University of the Philippines College of Law,  told the  Philippine Economic Society Regional Conference on the Development Agenda for Mindanao Under P-Noy that “kumpleto na ang government peace panel” (the government peace panel is now complete) and that he hopes the MILF will now name its panel.

But Leonen, whose first two members are UP Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and businessman Senen Bacani,  did not name the last two members in the forum at the Ateneo de Davao University before noon today.

He told MindaNews after the forum that Piang is the newest member and that the last government peace panel member will be the new head of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) whose appointment will be announced soon, Leonen said.

Under the law creating the NCMF, RA 9997, its head holds a Cabinet rank. The Secretary will also “participate in the peace process involving conflicts between Filipino Muslim groups and/or individuals and the government in cooperation with appropriate agencies, individuals and institutions” and pursuant thereto,  the NCMF Secretary or his/her duly designated representative “shall sit as a regular member of the government’s peace panel in negotiating peace with the Muslim Filipino groups or individuals.”

Piang, a former teacher and school principal, has received various awards on good and honest governance. He was the only mayor in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) who won a Galing Pook award in 2004 for Outstanding Peace and Order for his project, “Tri-People Way of Conflict Resolution” and was a recipient of the 2005 Eduardo Aboitiz Triennial Award for Exemplary Individual.

Mindanawon leaders welcomed Piang’s membership in the  government peace panel.  Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, OMI, told MindaNews “Ramon Piang’s talents as a Teduray local executive should have been brought to the high levels of government departments a long time ago.”

Quevedo said Piang “may not be well known nationally but he’s  a very good choice, a competent, outstanding Teduray who is a friend of tri-people, knows the Bangsamoro issue first hand. He will provide ‘realism’ to academic knowledge. He personally knows his MILF counterparts.”

Fr. Eliseo “Jun” Mercado,  executive director of the Institute of Autonomy and Governance (IAG),  told MindaNews Piang is “a very good and credible IP (indigenous people) leader. Performance and public service in local government unit. Upi is the only Galing Pook awardee in the whole Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.”

Historian Rudy Rodil, member of the government peace panel in the negotiations with the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, told MindaNews that Piang is “an excellent choice.”

He said Piang is “well educated multi-awardee in local governance, Lumad, tri-people-oriented, honest, innovative.”

Mohagher Iqbal, MILF information officer and head of the deactivated  MILF peace panel, said, “shortly MILF can announce (its panel composition).

He said the Central Committee of the MILF “still has to meet. You will know soon.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

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