GPH-MILF sign power sharing annex at 42nd exploratory talks

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The peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) continued to gain headway with the completion and signing of another important document, the Annex on Power Sharing in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) at the end of the 42nd exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

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The Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) headed by Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles provided the media a copy of the joint statement signed by both peace panels of the GPH and MILF.

The joint statement was signed by Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chair of the GPH panel; Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of the MILF peace panel, and Tengku Dato’ AB Ghafar Tengju Mohamed, Malaysian facilitator.

Malaysia has been the host of the ongoing peace negotiations.

“The signing of the Annex on Power Sharing ensures the achievement of a genuine and viable autonomy for the Bangsamoro,” Deles said in a separate statement.

Deles admitted that it was “a very difficult round but we were able to overcome a lot of obstacles, showing the Parties’ shared commitment to finish and deliver on our peoples’ desire for peace,” adding that “we consider the signing of the Annex on Power Sharing as a special gift of the Season for the Filipino people, an indication of the collective hopes and dreams of our people for just and lasting peace.”

The GPH-MILF joint statement said that: “The annex embodies the parties’ agreement on the delineation and sharing of power between the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government within the territorial jurisdiction of the prospective Bangsamoro political entity (and) guides the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BCT) in the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”

At the same time, the annex on power sharing “also provides principles of intergovernmental relations to ensure the harmonious partnership between and among the different levels of government,” the statement added.

The two sides dubbed the latest signing as a “significant progress” of the ongoing negotiations in resolving the long-drawn Mindanao conflict during the past four decades that killed over 150,000 and wounding of tens of thousands both combatants and innocent civilians caught in the crossfire..

They said they “are confident that they will finish the Annex on Normalization and an addendum on the matter of Bangsamoro Waters in order to complete the comprehensive peace agreement between the GPH and the MILF in January 2014.”

Both acknowledged “the challenges in ensuring the support of all branches of government, civil society, as well as other political organizations.”

In the spirit of transparency and inclusivity, the parties vowed to continue to dialogue with and consult the various stakeholders and committed themselves “to preserve the ceasefire and enhance the capacities of the ceasefire mechanisms in preventing hostilities and other untoward incidents.”

Not a single fighting erupted between government forces and MILF since last year, indication that the ceasefire is holding.

The GPH and MILF panels urged the public to join the efforts to bring a just resolution to the conflict in Mindanao as they expressed their appreciation to President Benigno S. Aquino III for his commitment to a just and lasting peace in Mindanao, to Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak for his continued support in the facilitation of the GPH-MILF peace talks, and to the members of the MILF Central Committee headed by Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim for their continued commitment to the peaceful settlement of the Bangsamoro Question.

The parties also extend their gratitude to the members of the International Contact Group, namely Japan, Republic of Turkey, the United Kingdom, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Conciliation Resources, Muhammadiyah, and the Community of Sant’Egidio. PNA

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