• Govt, MILF back on negotiating table

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    THE government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) negotiating panels resume talks ton Monday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to thresh out their differences on the controversial “wealth sharing” agreement.

    “The guidance is present the position of the (MILF) Central Committee, discuss the position of the MILF (on wealth sharing agreement),” MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar said on Sunday.

    Jaafar said they are monitoring and closely observing how the negotiations would run but he refused to give details about their position.

    “We cannot discuss this in public,” he told reporters.

    Jaafar earlier said that the Central Committee, the MILF’s governing body, had already made a decision in connection with the government’s proposal to amend the already initialled wealth sharing provision of the framework agreement.

    Prior to the Central Committee meeting, Jaafar said the MILF is likely to reject any proposal of the government panel that will alter or amend what have already been agreed upon, including, among others, the initialed annex on wealth sharing.

    “It has already been signed. It has already been initialed, why change it? It has already been discussed,” he said.

    The MILF, in its official website www.luwaran.com, also made it known that they would hold on to the initialed annex on wealth sharing.

    “The peace negotiation is an exercise in futility if there is no stop to this changing of positions by the government negotiating team,” it said.

    “We are not renegotiating the initialed document,” a member of the MILF peace panel said in reaction to the reported “notes” sent by the government to the MILFwhich he described as an attempt to throw the blame on the MILF.

    The document on wealth sharing bore the initials of Secretary Senen Bacani and Prof. Abhoud Syed Ligga and three other personalities.

    The MILF claimed that the chairs of the peace panels, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and Mohagher Iqbal, took the lead in the discussion, which culminated in the initialling of the document on February 27.

    It said that among those the government panel wanted to change is the document pertaining to natural resources and the withdrawal of a grant to the Bangsamoro government.

    “Except for those that are in harmony with the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, we don’t accept the changes introduced by government on wealth sharing,” the Luwaran quoted Iqbal as saying.

    The second backtracking, it added, was contained in the so-called “notes” recently sent to the MILF through the Malaysian facilitator, Dato Tengku Ab’ Ghafar Bin Tengku Mohamed, who visited the MILF leadership at Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindano on June 7.

    “Two change of positions in a row within the span of two months is alarming,” the MILF negotiator said as quoted by Luwaran.

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