GPH, MILF gear up for historic signing of final peace deal

March 21, 2014 2:33 pm

The Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have firmed up preparations for the historic signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) on March 27 in Malacañang.

GPH chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said that the CAB signing seals the partnership for peace and prosperity between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. “This partnership is based on our shared aspiration to heal the wounds of conflict, enable meaningful autonomy for the Bangsamoro, and nurture peace and development in Muslim Mindanao.”

The CAB brings together all the major agreements signed by the parties in the course of the 17-year negotiations. Its most important parts are the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the four Annexes. These documents provide for the road map and the terms pertaining to the creation of the Bangsamoro entity and the transformation of the MILF from an armed group to an active participant in governance and societal reform.

“From the FAB to the CAB, we have come a long way,” said Coronel-Ferrer. “We dedicate the signing of the CAB to all the people who have helped us reach this stage in the journey. To them we owe this opportunity to bring our people closer together toward shared peace and prosperity under one country standing tall before the global community.”

Big event

More than a thousand people are expected to attend the event in Malacanang.

Coronel-Ferrer, as the Government chief negotiator and MILF panel chair Mohagher Iqbal will sign the CAB with Malaysian Third Party Facilitator Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed signing as witness.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles and MILF chief Al Haj Murad Ebrahim are expected to deliver their messages before attendees coming from the international community and various sectors.

Meanwhile, simultaneous celebrations are being organized by different organizations in various parts of Mindanao and Metro Manila to welcome the signing of the CAB.

Drafting the law

The CAB serves as basis for the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law being done by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission. The draft law will be submitted to Congress and certified by the President as urgent. A plebiscite will then be held at the areas identified in the agreement after the law is passed.

These areas are the current provinces and cities in the ARMM — the cities of Isabela and Cotabato, six municipalities in Lanao del Norte, and 39 barangays in six municipalities of Cotabato province.

Other geographic areas that are contiguous to the enumerated places and that wish to join the plebiscite may do so through a resolution passed by the local government unit concerned or a petition of at least 10 percent of registered voters in the locality two months before the conduct of the plebiscite. The Bangsamoro Basic Law will provide for the modalities that would allow them to join the plebiscite.

Normalization

At the same time, the GPH and MILF panels are working on the terms of reference for the different bodies that will be created as part of the normalization process.

These bodies include the Joint Normalization Committee that will oversee the programs for normalization, including the transitional security arrangements that will build on the current cooperation under the ceasefire agreement.

“We are also going to invite local and foreign experts who will sit in the Independent Decommissioning Body that will manage the inventory and verification of the MILF combatants and armory,” Coronel-Ferrer said. “Moreover, we will form a Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission that would study and propose programs that would address historical grievances and heal the wounds of war.”

The two panels have continued with their consultations and dialogues in different parts of the country to update the people on these steps that are being taken. PNA

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