ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/20 May) – The government peace panel has granted the request of the city government to schedule a public consultation on the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Mayor Celso Lobregat said the decision was arrived at following his request aired during the executive session with the peace panel last Tuesday.
“True, genuine and meaningful public consultations will all the stakeholders and sectors of the society are crucial foundations for any peace process,” he said.
“The peace panel said it is a new panel and it is unlike the previous panel. The members want to learn from past mistakes and they said they will adhere to our call for more consultations,” he added.
Lobregat, however, said the panel has not specified the date for consultation with stakeholders in the city.
After the closed-door meeting with local government officials on Tuesday, peace panel chair Dean Marvic Leonen vowed to conduct the consultation before or after the panel meets with the MILF panel on June 27 in Kuala Lumpur. The government panel is expected to present its draft peace settlement on that day, four months after the MILF handed over its draft.
“We hope it will be soon but we are dependent on the schedule of the good mayor and many other things,” Leonen said.
Lobregat said that he is also banking on the assurance of the panel that it will inform the city government about the developments in the peace talks.
He said that whatever peace agreement is reached or forged will not only be confined between the government and the MILF or the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) but should be workable and acceptable to all–with those inside the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and outside the autonomous region. (MindaNews)