Lawmakers laud creation of advisory body for peace talks

July 16, 2010 12:01 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, July 15 — Lawmakers welcomed the creation of an advisory body as part of the government's efforts to restore confidence on its peace talks with the rebels.

Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong said it is also advisable to have two panels to handle separately peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

"This will allow both panels to work simultaneously," he said.

As to the composition of the peace panels, Datumanong said that in the case of the peace talks with the MILF, it will be fitting to include representatives of the affected communities and local government units including the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to avoid allegations of no consultations and communication with stakeholders.

For his part, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro Casino also favored for the creation of two separate panels.

Casino also expressed hope that President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III will appoint deserving members to the negotiating groups.

"I hope President Aquino will appoint members who are credible as well as acceptable to the other side and to most stakeholders," he said.

Presidential adviser on peace process Teresita Deles earlier said that the President has approved the creation of an advisory body for peace talks, which will be composed of people from the legislature, members of the 1987 Constitutional Commission, retired chief justices of the Supreme Court, representatives of local governments and former chairs of the government negotiating panel.

"As well, we will be convening an assembly of civil society peace advocates from different parts of the country to determine the structures and mechanisms by which we can ensure sustained consultation and engagement involving the full range of concerned sectors, communities and peace constituencies," said Deles in a press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday. (PNA)



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