Iqbal: Aquino broke promise

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iqbal_dilanAfter a week of negotiations, the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are nowhere near resolving the thorny issues that had delayed the crafting of a final draft agreement that will be the basis for establishing a Bangsamoro region in Mindanao.

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On Thursday, MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal accused President Benigno Aquino 3rd of turning his back on his promise that the government will be flexible in its application of the Constitution to the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Iqbal noted that the President made the promise before the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) in March this year.

He, however, said Malacañang’s legal office almost entirely changed the BBL draft when the office reviewed the draft crafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

“Most of their comments are really on the basis of the integrity of the Philippine Constitution. That’s the problem,” Iqbal added.

“[They’re] very restrictive. What we’re looking for is the flexibility that they promised to us,” he said.

Although the MILF chief negotiator acknowledged that there were some gray areas in the process of the submission of the BBL to Malacañang, Iqbal noted that it was never said in the agreement that “when it reached the Office of the President, they would not touch it, but it was not stated also that they could touch it.”

But despite these roadblocks, Iqbal said they remain confident that the peace process would be completed if the signed agreement was not amended.

“As long as the two parties would stick to two principles, one is they still commit that there is really a need to finish this process, and then the second principle is that the signed agreement should not be amended, I think we can finish this one,” he added.

The government and MILF panels will be on their eighth day of negotiations today but Iqbal said the negotiators still failed to thresh out the most contentious provisions of the proposed Bangsamoro law.

“We are making progress and there are a lot of contentious issues that the two parties were able to [solve]… but of course the most contentious issues are still unresolved,” he told ANC.

Iqbal disclosed that the biggest obstacles were the provisions on the extent of “power” that would be granted to the Bangsamoro government and wealth sharing.

“These are the biggest obstacles in our discussions. It’s about powers, and it’s about resources,” he said.

The annexes on power and wealth sharing were part of the initial framework agreement that the two parties signed.

Under the initial agreement, the proposed Bangsamoro government would have its own law enforcers, which some observers say violates the constitutional provision of one national police.

On wealth distribution, the two panels agreed on a 50-50 sharing on fossil fuels, which refer to mineral deposits like coal, uranium, petroleum and natural gas; and 75-25, in favor of the MILF, on the sharing on metallic minerals, among others.

Government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer also on Thursday denied reports that the peace deal with the MILF is nearing collapse.

“Things are going on smoothly and we are confident of reaching a consensus on this. We’ve covered a lot of ground and the ceasefire is very much in place,” she told The Manila Times.

Ferrer noted that the two panels are doing a lot of balancing on the BBL draft so that it would pass the scrutiny of Congress.

She downplayed the MILF complaint on deletions and revisions on the draft law, saying it was done to make it “lean and neat.”

“Some of the deletions were made because there were repetitions in other parts of the draft law. There are so many provisions, for instance, that are replicated in the current part of the article, and that’s the kind of cleaning up that we are doing now, to make sure it will be a lean and neat law without sacrificing any of the provisions or the principles that we have already upheld in the comprehensive agreement,” Ferrer explained.

The government had planned to endorse the draft BBL to Congress in May but a final draft is yet to be crafted because of the MILF’s refusal to accept a “diluted” version.

Sen. Francis Escudero said Congress can pass the law within the year if the draft is submitted by September.

The senator added that all stakeholders in Mindanao should have been consulted before a draft law was crafted to avoid the pitfalls of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), which was later declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

“The road to peace in Mindanao is a delicate issue. Our peace panel should find the right approach [that]does not isolate anyone. The direct participation of local and religious leaders, representatives of tribes and clans should be solicited. Inclusivity should be one of the major bases for the talk,” Escudero said.

With JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

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16 Comments

  1. Ado Paglinawan on

    This is irreparable. No diplomatese can undo what the village idiot promised but did not keep.

    Why? because he lied to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that the government will be flexible in the application of the Philippine Constitution to the Bangsamoro Basic Law replacing the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao organic act.

    In the desire of the MILF to put one over the MNLF, they forgot they were dealing with a toy president testing the waters for soft dictatorship. They were blindsided by what was erstwhile the high popularity of the insane that was running the Malacanang asylum.

    How can the MILF and all its bright minds not seen through that mirage? There can be no more Bangsamoro “Basic” Law, because the Philippine Constitution is already the “basic law of the land”.

    Hello? What can be more basic than basic?

    Anything more basic than basic will be shot down by the Supreme Court, just as the eight superfluous provisions of the Reproductive Health Law and the entire Disbursement Acceleration Program were declared unconstitutional.

    In fact, the next in the chopping block is the Bases Sharing Agreement that BS Aquino “gifted” BS Barack Obama with. (BS was the original name of the American president – i.e. Barry Soetoro.)

    The only way Mohagher Iqbal can save face and extricate himself from any possible complicity in this verbal engineering by Malacanang turned sour is for the Moros to declare a “fatwa” of death by all means possible against this blasphemer of Allah by employing the forked tongue of the “shaytan jinn” or “Iblis” (Satan) to betray Muslims. (Sura 72)

    Remember, the Framework for the Bangsamoro Agreement was lifted by no less than the Embassy of an “evil” empire, the United States of America, from the previous ill-fated Memorandum Agreement for Ancestral Domain designed by the US Institute of Peace (USIP).

    This just call (Yaum Al Quiyama) for a jihad, cannot now be disregarded or delayed. (Sura 72:…

  2. Dont worry, the Moros after all were fighting for Independence fro the colonial Phil Govt. They only got into negotiation with you because you ask to negotiate. Now that your negotiation and your offers for peace are not true or real, then what’s your problem? THE MOROS ONLY RECIPROCATED YOUR OFFER FOR PEACE BUT YOU DON’T MEAN IT. NO PROBLE.!!!

  3. Rafael Benedicto on

    “On wealth distribution, the two panels agreed on a 50-50 sharing on fossil fuels, which refer to mineral deposits like coal, uranium, petroleum and natural gas”

    – Uranium is not a ‘fossil fuel’. It is a radioactive metallic element.

  4. People outside Mindanao always suggesting to eradicate rebellion by using force and war. Do you think that the 10 percent Muslims in the country will just watch their Brothers die. To end this problem we must adopt the solution used in east Timor, Indonesian Christian Minority separated from Indonesia by Independence. I wonder if the christians majority can do the same.

  5. The Philippine government is walking in into a trap.There is no guaranttee that the Moros will not pull a Putin Crimea and ally themselves to Malaysia or Indonesia. IF so, now what will Pinoy do? Cry to this Muslim Obama?
    Arm yourselves, my people.Get a first class Navy and Army, or else, Mindanao is lost forever.Fire all these corrupt military leaders, terminate all these rebels . Stop subsidizing these corrupt moro leaders.

    • What is your reference of saying ‘corrupt military officials’? If you have nothing good to say to your own Filipino people (like what everybody else is saying before this comment), the Bangsamoro people, then isn’t wanting to have their own sovereignty a need for them? Plus, what is your evidence that the military officials and moro leaders are corrupt? They are not as budgeted as the AFP is. What is there to corrupt? Before you point fingers, check on your finger first. Sometimes non-Moros need to use their brains, you racist, media-brainwashed commoner.

    • For thousand of years, Filipinos were living side by side without fear and segregation. This is also true in many countries such as Thailand, India, etc. Why do we have conflict in the Middle East? It’s all about religion unfortunately. If we allow our country to be divided based on religious ground then we follow the path of ME. We might as well allow the INC, Buddhist, Catholics and Christians to have their own land. It’s crazy to have a Bangsa Moro Land. What about the Ifugaos, tausugs, tiwarays, ilocanos, visayans, etc. Scrap this deal before we it’s too late.I agree with Joel.

    • Agree ako diyan! Why are we even negotiating to rebels/terrorist? That’s who they represent and now we have to give them piece of our land. I grew up there with my maranaw brothers and I don’t see that in them. It’s those power hungry leaders of the leftist group who sees themselves as peace negotiator. When was the last peace negotiation done that they ambushed right after they got off the chopper? That’s right! Haidie, you must have not been born then because coined the 20th lingo racism. The issue was never that and you bring race when we are all of the same color and raised in the same country. The Moro should be happy that we allowed them to live in peace side-by-side with us and excersing same rights and domained by a universal law. I say never commit with this agreement for winter is coming in the Philippines. It’s a tribal matter carried on the 20th century and abundance of wealth with their ill intent. Let’s give them hell so they can have their virgins after all the infidels are still the ruling class of any other century! Hoo-rah!!

    • Man From Mindanao on

      What Joel is saying is true. Haidie, if they really are Filipinos, why would they want to separate from the Philippines and create their own state? Why would they attack the civilians? They are clearly not a liberation group but a bunch of terrorists. And also, our government is spending millions of our budget for the so called ARMM. But look at ARMM’s economic capacity. It is still very low. And then try to look at the lifestyles of their leaders. They have numerous cars, private armies, and millions of cash to spend. They say that they own Mindanao because history says so. However, if we know our history well, lumads lived here in Mindanao long before Islam came. This problem really is a no-brainer actually.

  6. I think the strategy of the present administration is simply to talk only to one faction that is the MILF so its easy to fast tract the peace pact before the end of term of President B. S. Aquino. And while doing the negotiation and the final BBL, the DBM is distributing money from DAP to other factions like the MNLF-ARMM among others so as to appease them and just consent or agree to whatever the peace pact produced between the government panel and the MILF group. Nonetheless, this will fail although how smart and shrewd tactics are being employed, there are many considerations that are being omitted like the inclusions of all affected parties in the negotiation and the limitations of the present constitution not to mention the facilitation offered by the Malaysian officials which is inappropriate due to the Sabah claim by our government.

    • Exactly what I said above in response to Haidee. Many other groups would ask for autonomy.Let’s have a strong arm forces and dismantle the local militia.

  7. The MILF is a Malaysian Trojan horse whose existence is design to keep us from reclaiming Sabah. Funded and provided sanctuary by Malaysia, they splintered from the MNLF, to pursue independence rather than autonomy to serve as a weakening organ of the GRP – prevent muslim unity in Mindanao to look in the direction of reclaiming Sabah, and gain for Malaysia and the British with US connivance – more concessions from GRP.

  8. Horacio B. Freires on

    That’s indeed very good..!! There is a delay. . MUST: till after 2016 where there is no more oil in the middle east (ARAMCO). . The govt . . and that’s one good thing for Pnoy,.. .heeded my advice (hopefully the two) when an intelligence lady Coronel. . whose PhD thesis was on the PEACE PROCESS. . spoke to us, the joint meeting of two Rotary Clubs here in Manila. . I GAVE THESE TWO POINTS

    1.0 DELAY in order for the Philippine govt to negotiate on a stronger position (hindi ung nagmamakaawa tayo. .at the middle of other Islamic nations sponsoring the peace process). . the rebels by that time had no more considerable financial support. . Let there be violence . . no problem. . .that’s their technology. . we accept. .. But it will be temporary. . the rebels wants the peace agreement at their dictation finalized before 2015. . CLEVER. . !!

    2.0 NO LAND. . militarily controlled by them, , ,ELSE. . they will point nuclear missiles to Metro Manila. . like what happened to India & Pakistan. . .We have no nuclear missiles to point to them. . We will rely again to the US. . who will further exploit us. .. There will be peace in the atmosphere of fear. . NEVER..!!

  9. This stupid agreement is now falling apart, as it is very, very unconstitutional, and unnecessary altogether….

    Why the need to give the Muslims their own territory..are they not free to practice their religion as it is now…? are they being persecuted…heck, no!

    Filipinos must see that the Islamic faith is not just a regular religion, interested in the spiritual welfare of its adherents…it is futhermore, a political ideology that FORCES itself to BE THE GOVERNMENT itself…the governmemnt of Allah, enforcing its own constitution and court system, the SHARIA…

    Wake up, Filipinos before it is too late….unless you are prepared to convert to Islam in 10 years….

    Islam CAN NOT, and WILL NOT coexist with any other religion, or government…it is wholly Allah, Allah and more Allah….

    Wherever Islam is, there is always fighting…in the QURAN, it is ordered to fight and kill everyone, until the whole world worships only Allah…

    Working for peace, is ostensibly just a ploy to get their own territory, and is a masterful practice of the Islamic doctrine of DECEIT, or AL TAQQIYAH…

    Read the QURAN and THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD online, it is fascinating reading, and you will be shocked as to what it REALLY teaches!

  10. Edgar G. Festin on

    The root of the probkem is that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is really a separatist group with a military force that the Aquino administration allowed to continue growing.
    All those who have seriously studied the Moro problem have seen that the GRP now called the GPH under President Arroyo and then under President Aquino pretended that the MILF’s main goal is just autonomy within the Philippine Republic and not to become an independent Islamic state. The Manila Times and other experts, from academe, the foreign service, present and former Mindanao local government officials have warned of this. They saw that the Aquino Administration’s signing of the Framework Agreement and Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro were bioth treasonous acts of the negotiators and of President Aquino because neither document states the MILF’s respect for and willingness to adhere to the Philippine Constitution and the principles of the Philippine Republic.
    And we all asked Arroyo and Aquino to please not exclude the Moro National Liberation Front and the 1996 Comprehensive Agreement signed during the Fidel Ramos presidency.

  11. How can this ever pass? Negotiations were held with a faction and a signed agreement was the result. The government gave away everything including the kitchen sink. Now the government is correcting some of the things that were given away. How can the faction accept that? And how can the other factions ever agree to to anything if they were not involved? This is dead.