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MILF reaffirms commitment to peace process

John Unson (Philstar.com) - June 13, 2016 - 4:58pm

COTABATO CITY — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) reaffirmed its commitment to the peace process in Mindanao, confident President-elect Rodrigo Duterte would sustain the dividends of the now 18-year government-MILF peace overture.

The MILF’s figurehead, Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim, on Sunday said the decades-old Moro issue is best addressed via a political settlement.

“We are confident that the Bangsamoro peace process will not be relegated in status, as it has proven to be potentially the most viable solution to address conflict arising from historical injustices committed against our people,” Murad said in an emailed statement.

Murad said they remain persistent in their bid for the enactment into law of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which Congress failed to legislate despite Malacañang’s commitment to have it approved during the tenure of outgoing President Benigno Aquino III.

“The MILF remain committed in its continued pursuit of long-lasting peace and development in Mindanao,” Murad pointed out in his statement.

Murad said they were elated with their having recently crafted, along with the government’s peace panel,  a bilateral declaration to continue with the peace process, after Congress failed to enact the BBL into law during Aquino’s presidency.

The BBL, premised on the MILF’s two compacts with Malacañang, the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB), is the enabling measure for the replacement of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with a more politically and administratively empowered Bangsamoro entity.

“The MILF pledges to exert efforts in undertaking its obligations to fully implement the commitments under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, building upon all the gains and achievements secured in the Bangsamoro peace process through years of negotiations,” Murad said.

“It is important to sustain the traction that we have managed to develop toward the anticipated success of this political settlement,” he added.

Peace talks between the government and the MILF officially started on January 7, 1997 and gained headway in 2003 with the participation of Malaysia as “third party facilitator.”

Both sides forged the FAB on October 15, 2012 and, subsequently, crafted the CAB on March 27, 2014 in Malacanang, an event witnessed by diplomats from embassies of different states, including member-nations of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The OIC, a bloc of more than 50 Muslim states, among them petroleum-exporting countries in the Middle East and North Africa, helped broker the September 2, 1996 truce between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front, from where the MILF splintered from in the early 1980s.

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