B’moro peace pact signed March 27
Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) - March 15, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - After 17 years of “arduous negotiations,” the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will sign a peace agreement on March 27,  Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles said yesterday.

“We are finally arriving at a political settlement that will seal enduring peace and progress in Mindanao,” Deles said.

She said the signing of the comprehensive agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) is expected to benefit not only the areas under the Bangsamoro but the entire country as well.

“It will radiate beyond our borders to the regional community, and perhaps the whole world,” Deles said.

She said preparations for the signing are in full swing.

“This is an event that requires careful planning and considerations especially in terms of the venue, etc. We will be sending out invitations soon,” she said.

On Tuesday, Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, the country’s newest cardinal, announced during a testimonial dinner for him in Cotabato City that Aquino had invited him to the signing. Aquino attended the thanksgiving mass officiated by Quevedo.

The first breakthrough in the peace negotiations between the government and the  MILF under the Aquino administration came on Oct. 15, 2012 when peace panels signed in Malacañang the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).

Just recently, the government and the MILF signed the fourth and last annex on normalization of the FAB, which Deles said set the stage for CAB.

“With the leadership of our President P-Noy, who has enjoyed the highest sustained trust ratings of any President in our history, plus the massive international support that is funneling into the Mindanao peace process, we can overcome all the spoilers, we can obtain the support we need to build the Bangsamoro, we will win this game - this historical endeavor - in the end,” Deles said.

She said the CAB - the final peace deal - comprises the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and its annexes on Transitional Arrangements and Modalities, Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing, Power Sharing, and Normalization, as well as the Addendum on Bangsamoro Waters and Zones of Joint Cooperation.

Deles said one of the most remarkable points in the deal is the gradual decommissioning of firearms on the ground, which she described as a “true testament to the sincerity and genuine desire of the MILF to fully embrace the cause of peace.”

“As business people, you know how vital peace and order is to the growth of your companies. The peace agreement covers this, with provisions for the creation of a Bangsamoro police force, based on recommendations of an Independent Commission on Policing and under the umbrella of one Philippine National Police, to enforce law and order and secure the Bangsamoro from terrorism and religious extremism,” Deles told businessmen in one of her speaking engagements early this year.

“Human security, combined with additional sources of revenues under the Annex on Wealth-Sharing for social services, infrastructure development and environment management, will sustain peace and productivity in the Bangsamoro communities,” Deles added.

Deles said the peace process has explored every scenario and possibility to make sure a final agreement has solid footing.

“This is our comprehensive peace roadmap for Mindanao. As you can see, the process is very detailed, and also very, very challenging,” Deles said.

“Our roadmap is designed precisely to ensure that everything is done within the boundaries of our Constitution including its flexibilities, accompanied by broad consultations, and a very transparent, inclusive, and democratic process,” Deles added.

She said that with lasting peace in Mindanao now on the horizon, the Philippines would enjoy maximum benefits from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations economic integration starting next year.

“As we prepare for the ASEAN economic integration that takes place next year, we are doing our own economic integration at the national and regional levels, with a more peaceful Mindanao emerging as our attractive gateway to global and regional trade and investments,” she said.

“Two of our neighbors, Indonesia and Malaysia, have among the largest Muslim constituencies in the world. Poised to achieve peaceful transformation into a viable and sustainable political and economic entity, the Bangsamoro shall be our front door to regional trade,” Deles said.

Deles said the ASEAN economic integration is expected to facilitate intra-regional flow of goods.

“Through the Bangsamoro, we shall strengthen the politics of reconciliation and build an economy of equal opportunity. No one - Muslim, Christian, or indigenous peoples - will be left behind. Each will enjoy the benefits of good governance, social equity, and, most of all, the rule of law in a society of cultural and religious diversity,” she said.

 

AQUINO ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS BANGSAMORO BANGSAMORO WATERS AND ZONES OF JOINT COOPERATION COTABATO CITY DELES FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT INDEPENDENT COMMISSION MINDANAO PEACE
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