Signing of Power-Sharing Annex gains more support

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/09 Dec.) – Five peace advocacy organizations and a provincial governor in Mindanao have joined other groups in supporting the signing of the Annex on Power-Sharing to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Sunday.

North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Lala Taliño-Mendoza called the signing an “early Christmas gift for the peace loving people of Mindanao.”

In a text message to MindaNews, Mendoza said the signing comes at “the most appropriate time to tell us that we can still hope to achieve peace or hope for a solution for lasting peace.”

She added it came following the recent conflict in Zamboanga City and the destruction wrought by typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas.

“We all rebuild from the devastations that were brought to us through all these years of conflict,” the governor said.

In a joint statement Monday, five peace advocacy groups also lauded both the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for “their firm resolve” to conclude the comprehensive agreement by next year.

“The signing of the Annex on Power Sharing last Sunday emboldened our hope that a comprehensive peace agreement is really just around the corner, hence, work can start soonest on the equally important phase of the peace process—implementing its provisions to the letter and spirit,” the Mindanao Peoples Caucus, Lanao Peace Partners, Pailig Development Foundation, MSU-IIT Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao, and Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefits said.

They noted that the parties showed an “inclusive stance by committing to consider into the Bangsamoro Basic Law ideas from…the tripartite review on the implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement that government inked with the Moro National Liberation Front, and the set of proposals for strengthening the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao crafted by its Regional Legislative Assembly.”

In her closing statement Sunday after the 42nd exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur, GPH peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said:

“There remain many challenges ahead. We know that and we are ready for that even as we remain focused on the immediate task on hand, which is to finish once and for all the Annex on Normalization and an addendum on Bangsamoro Waters and put in place the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. These will be our new year’s gift to each other.”

Ferrer called the signed Annex “a newborn baby will have to be introduced to the world.”

“We expect that a good number out there would be eager to see it, scrutinize its different parts and get to know about it more. We of course tried our damnedest best to ensure that it will be a healthy baby, with all the parts in the right places, with the complete sets of toes and fingers, and not an unnecessary piece less or more,” she added.

The Power-Sharing Annex defines intergovernmental relations between the Bangsamoro government and the central government.

It reserves nine powers to the central government, identifies 14 concurrent or joint powers of the central government and the Bangsamoro government, 58 exclusive or devolved powers to the Bangsamoro, in addition to four items relating to jurisdiction in a section on “Other Matters”. (Keith Bacongco and H. Marcos C. Mordeno/MindaNews)