MNLF urges evaluation of 42 consensus points

John Unson (Philstar.com) - September 7, 2015 - 10:37pm

COTABATO CITY, Philippines - The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) wants an extensive evaluation of the 42 consensus points reached in the tripartite review of the implementation of its 1996 truce with Malacañang.

The 42 consensus points are products of three-way conferences, since 1997, among MNLF leaders, representatives from the national government and the Jeddah-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), as a part of an effort to iron out the weaknesses of the peace accord.

Former Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema, chair of the largest of three factions in the MNLF, on Monday said all three parties should evaluate the consensus points and determine now if these can be implemented or not.

Sema revealed their stance on the issue during Monday’s start of a technical meeting on the tripartite review process at the New World Hotel in Makati City, involving the government, the MNLF and the OIC’s Southern Philippines Peace Committee.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles said the activity is a preparation for the proposed November 2015 formal GPH-MNLF-OIC tripartite meeting in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

The tripartite review of the Sept. 2, 1996 final peace pact between the MNLF and the government was booted out by misunderstandings on the implementation of many of its sensitive provisions.

The peace agreement, forged during the time of President Fidel Ramos, was brokered by the OIC, a bloc of more than 50 Islamic states, among them petroleum-exporting countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

“The MNLF suggests that during this technical meeting, all parties must conduct a survey of all the consensus agreements, or arrangements already achieved,” Sema on Monday said.

He said all three parties should determine the status now of agreements reached during tripartite meetings in the country and abroad in the past seven years.

“This tripartite peace effort must now determine whether or not the government will implement these arrangements - not only by commitment but by tangible implementation,” Sema said.

The MNLF Sema group has more than 20 revolutionary sub-committees scattered across Mindanao and in Palawan.

Deles had said the September 7 to 8 technical meeting in Makati City is meant to chart a “roadmap” for a successful conclusion of the tripartite review.

The OIC is represented in the two-day meeting by its special envoy to Southern Philippines, Sayyed Kasem El-Masry, who is an Egyptian.

Deles said President Benigno Aquino III is committed to complete the peace process to address the effects of armed conflicts.

The tripartite review process was started in 2007, as a result of OIC Resolution 2/33-MM, promulgated during its 33rd foreign ministers’ conference in the Azerbaijan Republic in June 2006.

The resolution enjoined Malacañang and the MNLF to establish a mechanism that can push the implementation of the peace accord forward.

Sema said all remaining contentious issues besetting the peace agreement must be addressed first by the three parties before winding up with the review of the government-MNLF peace agreement.

He said completion can only happen with a religious implementation of the 1996 government-MNLF truce and all resolutions reached in the tripartite review of the now 19-year OIC-brokered accord.

Sema said the 42 consensus points supposedly intended to improve the charter of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the Republic Act 9054, remained unimplemented too.

Sema also lamented on what is for him “unilateral pronouncement” by the government that all agreements reached in the tripartite review are to be integrated with the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, now being legislated in compliance with Malacañang’s separate peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Malacanang has two compacts with the MILF, which splintered from the MNLF in the early 1980s, the Oct. 15, 2013 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) and, subsequently, the Mar. 27, 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB).

Unlike the group of MNLF’s founder, Misuari, the Sema bloc is not hostile to the MILF.

Sema and his followers even assured last year to readily recognize an MILF-led Bangsamoro government if established by Congress strictly according to the provisions of the FAB and CAB.

Sema, however, said the versions of the two chambers of Congress of the bills meant to establish an MILF-led Bangsamoro political entity do not reflect any embodiment of the government’s pronouncement of “convergence” of the consensus points agreed in the tripartite talks.  

“The Philippine government is, in fact, now trying to deactivate the ARMM through a new autonomy law, which is a diluted version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law that is so inferior to R.A. 9054,” Sema said.


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