Sunday, July 28, 2013

Nur’s Bangsamoro independence threat ‘misinformation’ — Malacañang

From the Daily Tribune (Jul 29): Nur’s Bangsamoro independence threat ‘misinformation’ — Malacañang

Malacañang branded yesterday as misinformation the threat of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari to declare an independent Bangsamoro Republic with its own Constitution as a result of what Misuari said were efforts of the government to abrogate the 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA) signed between the government and the MNLF.

Presidential deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said the Aquino ad-ministration will leave to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) the manner that the government will address Misuari’s threat.

“We’ll leave that to OPAPP, but as we have mentioned, OPAPP Secretary (Teresita) Deles went to Indonesia to speak to the Foreign Minister because they were the head of the monitoring team, if I am not mistaken. So, anyway, we have some concerns,” she said.

“What the OPAPP was saying is that, after almost six years of tripartite review, the joint review process has already established the consensus points and the joint mechanisms between the MNLF representatives and the ARMM regional government,” Valte added.

She said Deles made clear that what the government had proposed was the completion of the review process and not the closure of the peace process or the abrogation of the 1996 FPA.

Valte reiterated the warning of the OPAPP staff to be observant on the alleged “misinformation” circulating in some provinces of Mindanao which she said contained unsubstantiated facts about the peace process.

OPAPP undersecretary Jose Lorena warned the public against malicious text messages last Saturday which he said are circulating false information that aim to sow fear and derail the peace process.

“We urge the public to be critical against false information. We also call for sobriety as our government, both national and local, are carefully handling the peace and security in Mindanao. It is best to seek out information from reliable sources and understand the context before making conclusions,” he added. “We rely on the public to guard the process,” Lorena said.

Lorena said the text messages stated that MNLF members are set to hold a gathering and declare independence in reaction to the government efforts to end the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.

Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco, in a text advisory through the Philippine Information Agency Region IX, advised her constituents “to be careful in forwarding text messages from unverified sources as some unscrupulous individuals are circulating false information to cause undue alarm to the general public.”

Climaco assured that the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the local government are exerting all efforts to maintain normalcy, peace, and security in the city.

“No curfew has been imposed. Classes remain normal in all levels in the City,” Climaco said.

Deles, in a statement, clarified the status of the Tripartite Implementation Review of the GPH-MNLF 1996 Final Peace Agreement.

Deles explained that while the government’s position is that “it was time to bring the tripartite review process to a proper completion,” the “government will continue to engage relevant parties of the MNLF, through the existing mechanism, to find a just and comprehensive political solution for the issue of the Southern Philippines”.

Deles said that “after almost six years of tripartite review, a joint review process had already established consensus points and some joint mechanisms and actions particularly between MNLF representatives and the ARMM regional government.”

“From the start, what the GPH proposed to complete was the review process, not the closure of the peace process nor the abrogation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement,” Deles said.

Since 2007, the GPH had been engaged in conversations with the MNLF on the review of the implementation of the 1996 FPA.

Not a peace negotiation, the review process is being facilitated by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, specifically its Peace Committee for the Southern Philippines (OIC-PCSP) which is headed by Indonesia, she said.

Indonesia as facilitator to the review process, through Minister for Foreign Affairs Marty Natalegawa, advised the Philippine government to continue to exercise patience even in the face of provocation as he reiterated Indonesia’s support for the peace process in Mindanao.

Deles said Natalegawa held the view that the review process had reached a critical juncture both in terms of it substance and its process.

Natalegawa said to Deles that, for Indonesia, there is every interest to be able to say that the process has been completed and that everyone is on board.

“He said it is important to ensure that the process does not provide any opportunity for ‘spoilers’ to intervene,” Deles said.

Natalegawa further noted that the efforts of GPH should be propagated and understood.

Natalegawa said that, if needed, Indonesia would be willing to assist the GPH in explaining the current situation to members of the OIC-PCSP, starting with those who are also members of ASEAN.

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