Gov’t-MNLF peace panels say 2013 productive
The Year 2013 has been a productive year for the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panels, despite challenges and hurdles which contributed to the delay of the long-awaited Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
In their year-end statement, the government peace panel in talks with the MILF, said it was in February when the first annex of the agreement, the Annex on Transitional Arrangements and Modalities, was signed by both parties. The government said it “elaborated our road map” to the peace process.
Then the Sajahatra Bangsamoro came next, the first socio-economic program to provide basic social benefits to previously unreached members of conflict-affected areas. The peace panel said it was the first time that “an incumbent President and his Cabinet “entered the MILF camp, where the launching ceremony was festively held before leaders and members of the MILF and international dignitaries.”
In May 2013, when the midterm election was held nationwide, the peace panel described it as “somewhat prolonged period [that] may have doused hopes of a comprehensive, negotiated settlement.”
But two months after, the Annex on wealth sharing was signed by the parties, which was “greeted by the public with general approval,” it said.
The wealth sharing annex has provided the foundation for the autonomy envisioned for the Bangsamoro political entity and its constituents. “It defines the new structure of government and lists the various modes powers will be shared between the Central Government and the Bangsamoro,” the peace panel said.
But 2013 was not without its challenges and conflicts. The government peace panel noted, however, that “Catastrophes, whether self-inflicted or by force majeure, have thankfully not broken the Filipinos’ spirit. They have strengthened and united us towards the common purpose of rebuilding lives and reconstructing communities affected by such mix-match of tragedies,” it stressed.
The negotiating teams expect to finalize the remaining Annex on Normalization and addendum on the Bangsamoro waters to complete the agreement. The normalization annex will “concretize our vision for a post-conflict Bangsamoro” while assuring that it will work with the Transition Commission and Congress to ensure the smooth passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” the statement reads.
“All of the accomplishments in the GPH-MILF peace process were made possible through the collective efforts, trust, and goodwill of both Parties, our respective principals, and the unwavering support of various sectors to push the process forward. We wish them all a blessed holiday,” the panels said.