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Nation

MILF can join 2016 polls – gov’t

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) can join the 2016 elections, especially after the proposed Bangsamoro region has been established, the government said yesterday.

Presidential adviser on the peace process Teresita Deles welcomed the plan of the MILF to form its own political party to participate in the 2016 elections.

Deles said it shows the group’s commitment to prepare itself for the challenges of democratic and inclusive governance in the proposed Bangsamoro region.

“This is consistent with the road map of the signed framework agreement on the Bangsamoro, which ends with the election of officials for the newly established Bangsamoro in 2016,” she said.

Deles said the MILF’s plan is consistent with the goals of any negotiated political settlement, which is to transform the engaged armed party into an unarmed political and socio-economic force for continuing change and reform.

MILF chief of information Mohagher Iqbal said the creation of a political party would be necessary in anticipation of the Bangsamoro region.

“The MILF is a movement, it will stay as a movement,” he said. "If we want to participate in running the affairs of the future Bangsamoro entity, then definitely we will have to organize a political party.”

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the MILF needs to make the necessary preparations for the next political exercise.

“The government welcomes the political plans of the MILF for 2016,” she said.

The Philippine Council on Islam and Democracy (PCID) said the MILF could have more strength in pushing for its advocacies in having its own political party.

“You have the vote, you have power, and you can leverage, so you can negotiate,” said PCID president Amina Rasul.

ABIGAIL VALTE

AMINA RASUL

BANGSAMORO

ISLAM AND DEMOCRACY

MILF

MOHAGHER IQBAL

MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT

PHILIPPINE COUNCIL

POLITICAL

TERESITA DELES

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