Gov’t has ‘fragmented approach’ to talks with MILF – Rodil

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/13 Sept) – The problem with how the government deals with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is its “fragmented approach” to the peace talks, the former vice chair of the government peace panel lamented in a peace forum here Monday.

“The GPH deviated from the Declaration of Continuity it forged with the MILF. This has always been where the talks get snagged,” said Prof. Rudy B. Rodil said in the forum.

In a text message Tuesday, Mohager Iqbal, MILF peace panel chair, concurred with Rodil’s statement.

“That is correct. That is our problem. Their draft (on the compact agreement) has no basis,” Iqbal said.

This reporter tried to contact GPH peace panel chair Marvic Leonen through texts and calls but was “out of coverage area.”

Rodil also noted the “non-implementation of most of the major points in the final peace agreement” between government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) signed in 1996, and yet the government “now expects to reach an agreement with the MILF.”

The forum dubbed “Forum on Republic of Ireland-Mindanao Peace Process Experience” was held Monday at the Mindanao University of Science and Technology, Barangay Lapasan, this city. The forum tackled lessons from the peace process in Ireland and the just-stalled GPH-MILF talks.

Rodil said that another aspect not addressed by the peace talks is the “emotional aspect of the problem.”

“Until we address the issue on the level of prejudice to the Moro people, we cannot start a genuine peace process. This is where we can contribute to the peace process. Let the panels talk on the formal negotiations while we, stakeholders, conduct ‘people-to-people’ dialogues to address the emotional aspect of the problem,” he said. (Cong B. Corrales / MindaNews)

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