• After peace accord is signed, MILF to evolve into political party

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    ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Philippines’ largest Muslim rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said it would continue to exist even beyond the signing of the peace accord with Manila and would eventually evolved into a political party.

    The MILF is negotiating peace with the Aquino government and negotiators are on the final leg of talks. A comprehensive accord is likely to be completed before the year ends.

    “The MILF is a movement which has ideology and programs of action that it pursues through to the end. If however in the beginning it pursues its aims through armed struggle, but the moment the (Philippine) Government and the MILF finally sign the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, it will become a social movement that will continue to pursue its aims through democratic means. And one way to promote and realize this is through the organization of a principled political party that would engage in elections,” it said.

    The group has not entered politics, saying it does not recognize the Constitution, and even warned its members from running in any elective positions.

    The MILF also cautioned journalists in reporting on the peace talks after a national newspaper misquoted a senior rebel leader, Mohagher Iqbal, who is also the chairman of the peace panel.

    Part of the news article said the establishment of the Bangsamoro political entity would render the MILF insignificant or eventually dissolved.

    Last year, the peace panels signed the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement, paving the way for the Muslim homeland.

    Under the accord, the Bangsamoro government will take a ministerial form, where members of the legislature who would be elected by the people and in return they would elect a chief minister among themselves.

    Philippine and MILF negotiators last month ended talks in Kuala Lumpur without a substantial agreement.

    Negotiators disagree on the power-sharing principle, which contains the list of powers reserved for the central government, powers exclusive to the envisioned Bangsamoro government, and concurrent or shared powers between the two.

    Any delay in the negotiations could upset the working timeline of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, the body tasked to draft the Basic Law.

    AL JACINTO

     

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