PHL gov't, MILF peace panels to meet in KL in Nov

October 16, 2012 10:52 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Oct. 16 — Peace negotiators of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have agreed to meet in November in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the "annexes" of the agreement they signed in Manila Monday.

Dean Marvic Leonen, chairman of the government peace negotiating panel, said they will also be drafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law that will be submitted to Congress for legislation.

Leonen said components on "wealth sharing" and "power sharing" will be discussed by the technical working groups that have been created to work on the two contentious issues.

He said: "There has been work done on two of the topics and this is on power sharing and wealth sharing.

"They (technical working group) were hard at work alongside the panel as it negotiated the contours of the Framework Agreement."

MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said it is very clear "we are moving toward normalcy in Mindanao."

"As far as we are concerned in the MILF, we want to finish it as soon as possible. In the next meeting, if it is possible, we will finish it," he said.

He added: "I have been in the struggle for more than 40 years. If other people who have not sacrificed a lot want peace, I think the more I want peace because I have been in the struggle.

"I have spent the best of my life in this struggle so I want peace right now — an honorable peace."

Leonen said they are targeting to complete the annexes in the Framework Agreement by the end of the year and submit it to both Houses of Congress.

"We have a very reliable partner in the person of President Benigno Aquino III. So we want to finish everything before his term ends for practical purposes, and we want to be sure that whichever party in the other side of the negotiation, we want to finish the process," he stressed.

Leonen said drafting the annexes in the Framework Agreement is a "golden opportunity" for Bangsamoro leaders to come together and sit down to create that process and to be able to come out with an appropriate Bangsamoro Basic Law.

"The campaign slogan of both the government and the MILF is the Basic Law. It’s not about personalities. It’s not about platform, but it’s the Basic Law that we will campaign to our people. If they see good things in the Basic Law, I think they will go for it. I am very optimistic that they will go for it," he noted. ( PNA)

HBC/LGI

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