Bacani on GPH-MILF Framework pact: “The signing will proceed on Monday”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 October) —   “The signing will proceed on Monday. We don’t expect anything that will prevent the signing” of the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsmaoro,  government peace panel member Senen Bacani told a gathering of civil society organizations here Thursday morning.

Bacani, former Agriculture Secretary who was named to the panel as representative of the business sector, told a forum on the Framework Agreement Thursday morning at the Apo View Hotel that they have “covered all our bases” and are confident nothing will happen between now and Monday that will prevent the signing of the Framework Agreement in Malacanang.

Government peace panel chair MarvicLeonen and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel chair  Mohagher Iqbal in Malacanang, will sign the agreement in the presence of President BenignoSimeon Aquino III,  MILF chair Al Haj MuradEbrahim and Malaysian Prime MinisterDato’ Sri Mohammad Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak  at 1:30 p.m.

Bacani is confident nothing can stop the signing because “there is general support for this framework agreement from all sectors both local and international community. We’re prepared to sign. We don’t think anything will happen between now and Monday which will prevent the signing. And we have covered all of our bases because we don’t want.. I think we have learned lessons from the past.”

He was apparently referring to the aborted signing of the 2008 GPH-MILF Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD). The document was initialed on July 27, 2008 and was supposed to be formally signed  on August 5, 2008 but the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order afternoon of August 4, barring the government peace panel from signing the agreement. The Supreme Court eventually declared the MOA-AD unconstitutional on October 14 the same year.

Bacani said they have all bases covered and “even the ComPlan (Communications Plan), we have thought of the ComPlan several weeks ago…. I know we still have a lot of work to do  but I am optimistic that nothing will happen up to Monday.”

He said they are confident because of the “extensive consultations” with various sectors.  The senators and congressmen, he said “alam na nilang lahat” (they all know) what the agreement is all about.

“We think we have our bases covered. We’ve talked with retired justices of the Supreme Court, we’ve talked with legal luminaries …” he said.  (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

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