Leonen, Deles brief solons on PHL-MILF agreement

October 16, 2012 10:52 pm 

By Cielito Reganit

MANILA, Oct. 16 — Presidential Peace Process Adviser Teresita Deles and chief government negotiator Marvic Leonen briefed members of the House of Representatives Tuesday on the framework agreement between the government and Muslim rebels.

The briefing was for members of the House committees on Mindanao Affairs, Muslim Affairs and the special committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity.

It came a day after the framework agreement was signed at Malacanang witnessed by President Benigno S. Aquino III and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

Leonen told members of the committees the agreement was neither a legal document nor a treaty but a political document which they negotiated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“It is a motherhood document detailing the political commitments of the government and the MILF to end once and for all the decades-long conflict in Mindanao. It details a peace process that is democratic, inclusive and constitutional,” Leonen said.

He told legislators the preliminary agreement holds three annexes on power sharing, wealth sharing, and normalization.

As part of the provision on normalization, Leonen said the MILF has agreed to gradually decommission its forces until it is put beyond use while the government has committed for its part to gradually transfer all law enforcement functions of the Philippine military to police forces in Mindanao.

As to the creation of the Bangsamoro entity, Leonen stressed it can be achieved without amending the constitution but nonetheless said it would entail an extensive process and require much work from Congress.

Leonen saiud: “A Transition Commission would be created by an executive order from President Aquino and supported by Congressional resolutions.

"The Commission would then go for consultations throughout the area and submit a draft of a Bangsamoro Basic Law to Congress; the House and the Senate would then deliberate on it before passing the basic law in bicameral conference; the President would then sign it into law.”

“But since the Bangsamoro Basic Law is a special law, it must have to be submitted to and ratified by the people concerned. They would be asked if they approve of it and want to be included,” he said.

With regard to the previous agreements entered into by the government with the Moro National Liberation Front, the government’s lead negotiator said that the Framework Agreement would in fact complement the preceding agreements.

“It neither rejects the Tripoli agreement nor the subsequent final agreement entered into by the government with the MNLF in 1996. In fact, we have consulted with the MNLF leadership prior to the drafting of this agreement. The government likewise is inviting the MNLF to be part of the Transition Commission to draft the Basic Law,” Leonen said.

In the meantime, he said the GPH-MILF panels are targeting the completion of necessary documents for the agreement by the end of the year and urged the lawmakers to support the agreement and the peace process.

“This is the best agreement we have come up so far. With your full support, a final agreement could be done by the end of the Aquino administration in 2016,” Leonen said. (PNA)

HBC/CMR

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