MILF holds third consultation with non-Moro groups on draft peace pact

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 March) – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel will meet with leaders of non-Moro civil society from the Lanao provinces and Northern Mindanao in a consultation Monday “to elicit their views, ideas, and questions with regards to the MILF’s position and proposals in the talks.”

The Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC) has been facilitating the series of consultations which started on March 6 in Cotabato City, with non-Moro civil society leaders from Davao and Cotabato, and with Christian religious leaders on March 9.

“MPC considers this a unique opportunity for Mindanawons to take part in shaping viable and sustainable political options to resolve the root causes of the armed conflict in Mindanao,” the MPC invitation signed by MPC chair Bae Liza Saway, said.

Saway noted that “in the spirit of dialogue and in response to the call for inclusiveness and participation” in the ongoing peace talks between the Philippine government and the MILF, the MILF peace panel led by Mohagher Iqbal “seeks to engage leaders of non-Moro civil society organizations, church, business, international organizations, and academic institutions in order to discuss with them the MILF’s draft Peace Agreement.”

The MILF presented its revised draft peace agreement containing its proposed political settlement, to the government peace panel in Kuala Lumpur on February 9, during the 20th Exploratory Talks between the parties since 2003 but the first under the Aquino administration.

Government peace panel chair Dean Marvic Leonen described the MILF’s revised draft  comprehensive pact as “not a document seeking independence or secession from the Republic of the Philippines.”

Leonen told MindaNews that the draft document “sees the possibility of Filipino citizenship with a Bangsamoro identity and defining a territory of only about 7 to 9 per cent of their historical claims.”

“This is the starting position of the MILF,” Leonen said of his initial reading of the MILF draft. “It’s not that radical and it looks like it’s going for a win-win and principled agreement.”

Iqbal had listed an 11-point description of the draft they submitted, the 11th stating it is a “win win formula that benefits not only Moros and the indigenous peoples, but also the Filipinos and the government in Manila.”

The Marawi consultation is scheduled at 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Maradeca Office, Marantao, Lanao del Sur, near the entrance of the MSU campus in Marawi City. (MindaNews)

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