^

MILF unhappy with gov't offer of autonomy to rebel territories

- Alexis Romero () - August 30, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) expressed disappointment yesterday over the proposal of the government to grant autonomy to rebel territories that could result in a similar fate that the other former rebel group, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), suffered.

Jun Mantawil, head of the MILF peace panel secretariat, said the MNLF waited for 14 years only to find out that they were integrated into the government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

He added that the constitutional amendments that the government promised to the MNLF were not implemented.

“If the MILF agrees to a reformist approach, it will suffer the same fate like the MNLF and (its founder) Nur Misuari,” said Mantawil in a statement.

The MILF is a breakaway group of the MNLF, which waged a rebellion in Mindanao in 1971 before a peace settlement was signed with the government in 1996.

The 1996 accord paved the way for the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The MILF, however, believes that the ARMM is not really autonomous since the government in Manila could dictate its policies.

The MILF is pushing for the creation of a Moro sub-state that would remain under the jurisdiction of the Philippines.

Under the MILF proposal, the authority over national defense, foreign relations, currency and postal services would still be exercised by the central government.

During the resumption of the peace talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this month, the government presented a proposal that would entail massive economic development, political settlement with the MILF and cultural-historical acknowledgment.

Mantawil said the government’s proposal is “reformist” and did not reflect the previous drafts agreed upon by the MILF and former Philippine negotiators.

He said many items in the MILF draft had been approved by the previous government peace panels led by former peace adviser Jesus Dureza, former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and former chief negotiators Silvestre Afable, Rodolfo Garcia, and Rafael Seguis.

“The government proposal is something that starts from scratch, while the MILF’s is a product of more than 10 years of give-and-take negotiations,” Mantawil said.

Dubbed as the “three for one approach,” the government draft calls for the transformation of the ARMM through a “massive program of social services and economic development.”

Government negotiators said the aim is to “break the cycle of poverty in the ARMM” and to empower the people to undertake economic activities.

The government draft also proposes the creation of a Bangsamoro Commission that would supervise the implementation of the peace pact.

MILF negotiators, however, rejected the government’s offer, saying it did not meet their expectations. They claimed that the government draft would only prolong the decades-old conflict in Mindanao.

“Why do we have to negotiate for something doable? The Aquino administration can just implement them,” Mantawil said.

The government panel, however, maintained that its proposal is “the most principled, realistic and practical approach to resolving the decades-old armed conflict in the south.”

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES AUTONOMOUS REGION BANGSAMORO COMMISSION EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA GOVERNMENT JESUS DUREZA JUN MANTAWIL MANTAWIL MILF
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with