Friday, March 1, 2013

MILF: MILF, GPH Peace Panels move forward on FAB Annexes

From the MILF Website (Feb 28): MILF, GPH Peace Panels move forward on FAB Annexes

The 36th round of Formal Exploratory Talks between the negotiating panels of government and the MILF in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on February 25-27 2013 opened with mixed feelings of uncertainty and a brush of hope as the Parties sought to continue to doggedly work on resolving the remaining contentious issues in the Annexes to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).

 The unresolved contentious issues remained as stumbling blocks to the completion of the Annexes on Power Sharing, Wealth-Sharing, and Normalization. However, they succeeded to formally sign the Modalities and Transitional Arrangements of the FAB. Once the four Annexes have been completed, they become an integral part of the FAB that will now officially be the Compact Peace Agreement. The latter will guide the Transition Commission (TC) in the crafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which, after it has gone through ratification through a plebiscite and Congressional approval, will launch the Transition Authority (TA) and eventually establish the regular Bangsamoro Government set for 2016.

The Panels focused on the unresolved issues in the four Annexes and the drafting of the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Independent Commission for Policing. Towards the end of the gruelling negotiations characterized by hard bargaining and oftentimes uncompromising stances taken by both sides, the Annex on Modalities and Transitional Arrangements was completed and was finally signed on the third and final day of the negotiations. It should be recalled that acrimonious disagreements by the panels on the details of this Annex caused the technical impasse in the talks last December 2012. It took the Malaysian facilitator’s skilful diplomatic efforts to reconcile the differences between the panels.

On the other Annexes – Power-Sharing, Wealth Sharing and Normalization – the unresolved issues have been substantially narrowed down as the Technical Working Groups (TWGs) of the panels pursued their hair-splitting tasks to arrive at consensus. The process is such that those contentious issues which have not been resolved at the TWG level are raised to the panel level for further discussions; and when the panels still fail to reach a consensus or when decision at the higher level becomes imperative, these issues are elevated to their respective principals for final disposition. This is the case with the Annex on Wealth-Sharing in the 36th Round which reached completion and consensus both at the TWG and panel levels but had to be elevated to the respective principals of the negotiating parties.

With the final signing of the Annex on Modalities and Transitional Arrangements and the agreements on unresolved issues on Wealth Sharing, the MILF and GPH negotiating panels are very optimistic that the remaining issues in the Power-Sharing and Normalization Annexes will be completed in the next session of the talks before the end of March 2013.

Prof. Abhoud Syed M. Lingga, a member of the MILF Panel, when asked about this said: “We are keeping our fingers crossed that in the next session, all the Annexes shall have been completed.”
Another member of the MILF Panel, Maulana Alonto, who has just been named a member of the Transition Commission as with seven other MILF nominees, voiced the same opinion: “Despite variances in our positions on the remaining issues in the Annexes, we are quite confident that these can be reconciled. There is a long-established process or mechanism in the peace negotiations that invariably allows the resolution of conflicting positions. That’s why the peace negotiation not only survived but moved forward, although slowly, this past 15 years.”

Abdulla Camlian, another member of the MILF Panel and himself also now a member of the Transition Commission, echoed what Lingga and Alonto expressed. “I believe that with the big progress we’ve made in this latest negotiation here in Kuala Lumpur, we can complete everything by the end of March,” says Camlian.

When sought for his comments, Datu Antonio Kinoc, a member of the MILF Panel representing the Indigenous Peoples, had this to say: “I share the optimism of our chair and my other colleagues in the panel. We have made tremendous strides in our effort to complete all the Annexes in this session. There’s no reason why we cannot finish everything next month.”

On another note, the GPH and MILF PANEL expressed their profound thanks and gratitude to Mr. David Gorman, country representative of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) for his contribution to the peace process as one of the earliest persons deeply involved International Contact Group (ICG). He will be relocating to Cyprus as managing director for EURASIA of the CHD.

MILF: MILF peace panel invited to Manila Rotary International on Fab

From the MILF Website (Mar 1): MILF peace panel invited to Manila Rotary International on Fab

Members of the MILF peace panel led by Mohagher Iqbal are invited to the District Convention of the Rotary International District 3800 at the SMX Convention Center at the Asia Mall, Pasay City on March 2. The invitation letter was signed by Floro R. Francisco, Past President, Rotary Club of Manpasan, who stressed the need for the presence of the MILF negotiators in the forum, saying that it would be interesting for our members who come from the towns andcities that formerly constitute the old Province of Rizal as well aswhat is left of it after Metro Manila was constituted as a RegionalDistrict.

Originally, this group consisted of 89 Rotary Clubs from the cities of Malabon, Navotas, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Marikina, Pasig, San Juan and Mandaluyong and the cities/towns in Rizal.

Specifically, the letter spoke for the need to understand by their group the whole agenda of the Peace Process and the Road Map to be followed by the parties in implementing the FAB.

He said he expect that the MILF would make a presentation on the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) so that their members would be able to understand what the FAB is all about.

The letter was facilitated by Lawyer Mary Ann Arnado, who is the secretary general of the Mindanao People’s Caucus (MPC).

MPC is a member of the Civilian Protection Component (CPC) of the International Monitoring Team (IMT).