Deles bares formation of advisory body to help peace talks with MILF

September 5, 2010 2:12 am 

MANILA, Sept. 4 — In keeping with the desire of President Benigno S. Aquino III for greater transparency and accountability in the peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the government is forming an advisory body to assist the negotiators in their talks with Muslim rebels.

Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Teresita “Ging” Deles, in an interview Saturday over Radyo ng Bayan, saided that the advisory body would be composed of members from both Houses of Congress, retired justices of the Supreme Court, members of the 1987 Constitutional Commission, local governments in strife-affected areas, non government organizations involved in peace efforts and the former chairmen of previous peace panels.

Deles said she met with House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to ask them to designate their representatives to the advisory body that would deal with the negotiating panel, headed by chief peace negotiator Marvic Leonen.

“The advisory body will not just advise the government panel with MILF but also the panel to be constituted to talk with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples’ Army-National Democratic Front,” Deles said.

“The President said the peace process has to be as transparent and with greater accountability as far as possible so we met with civil society to tell them that government is very much in consultation with them in the peace negotiations so we will know who will represent them in the peace panel,” she said.

She said she expected the memorandum guidelines that would set the parameters, mandates and responsibilities of the panel, especially Leonen, to be signed by the President next week as the nation celebrates September as the National Peace Consciousness Month.

She said that the panel would take off from the agreements and discussions arrived at by previous negotiating panels with MILF and “we are also involving not just the President and the Security Council” in the course of the negotiations but advisers from the advisory body.

In a related development, the country celebrates September as the Peace Consciousness Month with the theme “People Power for Peace” on September 21 to raise awareness on the need to involve the citizenry to advance the peace talks.

“This is an international month-long celebration and the local celebration will deeply involve civil society in its numerous celebration programs,” Deles said.

September also happens to be the signing of the peace accords with the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF); the signing of peace agreement with the CPP-NPA-NDF 14 years ago and the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) of the late Fr. Conrado Balweg during the time of President Aquino’s mother, President Corazon C. Aquino.

Deles said the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace process would work closely with the social and security clusters to involve as many government agencies in advancing peace and creating awareness on the peace process so that “peace will not just be felt at the negotiating table but also in the communities” where peace is most desired. (PNA) RMA/PCOO/rsm

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