MILF likely to reject GPH peace proposal

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CAMP DARAPANAN, Maguindanao (MindaNews/05 September) — The Central Committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is “inclined to accept” the recommendation of its peace negotiating panel “not to accept” the government proposal as a framework of the negotiation, MILF chair Al-haj Murad Ebrahim announced in a press conference here this morning.

 

Murad, however, emphatically said there has been no deadlock in the negotiations and they are, in fact, preparing a “proposal on how to move forward.”

 

He said the proposal concerns a process, which includes asking the Malaysian facilitator to come to the country and shuttle to both camps in an effort to narrow the “heaven and earth” gap between their respective proposals.

 

He said they would also suggest to the government panel, through the Malaysian facilitator, to move the scheduled talks to a later date.

 

While Ebarahim believes that President Aquino, who he met in Tokyo, is sincere and has the political will to “do something good not only for the Bangsamoro in Mindanao but the whole country,” he opined that government “is not firm on how to solve the Bangsamoro issue.”

 

“They are still using the traditional way of hitting a palliative solution,” Ebrahim said while referring to the so-called “doables” that government has proposed.

 

Dean Marvic Leonen, chief government negotiator, has earlier proposed a three-in-one framework for the peace negotiations. Among Leonen’s proposal is to reform and enhance the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

 

The government’s suggestion came as a counter-proposal to the earlier Comprehensive Compact that the MILF has proposed.

 

But Ebrahim said they need not negotiate with government if the latter will only insist on the “doables because they can do anything and no one can bar them from doing it.”

 

He stressed: “The problem is political in nature. It is true that there are other problems like peace and order but they are not the root causes of the problems. So we have to address the root cause of the problem.”

 

The MILF chair also cautioned government against dragging the negotiations.

 

If the talks would drag longer, he said, many young idealist Muslims who were born during the war and are exposed to violence, may opt for the violent way of resolving the Mindanao problem.

 

In the same press conference, Murad announced that the Ulama Council of the MILF, to which Ameril Umra Kato of the breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter belongs, had been given prior right to decide on the former MILF commander.

 

The MILF Central Committee will also decide on the matter after the Ulama Council comes out with a verdict on Kato, he added.

 

Murad said that they needed to decide on what “course of action should be taken against Kato considering that they have already declared they are forming another organization and are no longer part of the MILF.”

 

But he clarified that despite Kato’s pronouncements “the door is still wide open for him and his group to come back and follow the path of the peace process.”

 

Murad said he emphasized to the President during their Tokyo meeting “that we have to solve this problem within this generation because the younger generations can be more militant and more inclined to violence because most of the young generation were born during the war and are exposed to war and violence. That is why we insist we fast-tract the political solution of the problem that will encourage the next generation to toe the line of the peace process.” (Romy Elusfa/MindaNews Contributor)

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