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The GPH-MNLF FPA’s closure

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The GPH-MNLF FPA’s closure

(July 1-14)

The Philippine government had rightly said that after the signing of the GPH-MNLF Final Peace Agreement (FPA) in September 1996 the formal peace negotiation between the parties had ended officially and their subsequent meetings were merely works in progress to satisfy the Totality Clause in that agreement that in matters of interpretation pertinent government laws or processes have to be pursued in the implementation. The conclusion of this process had taken place in Solo City, Central Java Province, Republic of Indonesia, on June 22, 2011, where the parties’ Ad Hoc High-Level Group signed the Document on the Consensus on the Unresolved Issues of the GPH-MNLF FPA on September 2, 1996. Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, said the primary purpose of the Tripartite Process with the OIC and MNLF is “to monitor and ensure full implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA)”. She further asserted that these series of meeting between the MNLF and GPH peace representatives “do not in any instance reopen negotiations, which were completed in 1996 as expressed in the ‘Totality Clause of the FPA’.”
The closure of the GPH-MNLF FPA is indeed a welcome development. It puts to rest the nagging question besieging the government that it is not sincere in complying with an obligation. On the part of the MNLF, it can enjoy whatever fruits that will be brought forth by the unimplemented aspects of the agreement. Specifically, as agreed recently in Indonesia, the MNLF will take part in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governance from noon of September 30, 2011 to June 30, 2013. President Aquino will appoint some MNLF members as OICs in the 21-year old ARMM.
The policy of the MILF in regard to the GPH-MNLF peace pact is very clear and straight-forward: “Let the peace pact be implemented in full.” The MILF will not stand in the way. What it is negotiating with the GPH is what is lacking in that agreement that would give genuine self-governance to the Bangsamoro people. We are not begrudging our brothers in the MNLF for signing the 1996 peace agreement; in the larger extent, it is part of the incremental successes of the Moro aspirations for self-governance. We also recognize that all the efforts from the 1970s, provided that they were not in the capitulative character, are gains of the struggle and part of the building blocks that contribute towards achieving the final destination of our struggle. The MNLF and its leaders, especially Nur Misuari, have definite places in the niche’ of Moro history.
But every leader, including Misuari, must also realize that he or she is only good for a certain period of time, and after which new players will emerge and eventually take over and carry the flame of struggle further. The MNLF’s time and formula to solve the Moro Question cannot move any further. The FPA is only good up to creating a scheme wherein the Moros are still within the ambit of a unitary framework of government. Decisions, especially major ones, which are the core issues in the negotiation, still rest with Manila. There is no real self-governance provided for in the FPA.

other source:

A July 3, 2011 press release by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Solo City, Indonesia – The Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) have agreed to develop a “workable partnership at appropriate levels” to pursue reforms in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The Ad Hoc High-Level (AHHL) Group of the two parties met in Indonesia on June 20-22 under the auspices of the Organization of Islamic Conference – Peace Committee on Southern Philippines (OIC-PCSP) to discuss unresolved issues regarding the implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles led the GPH delegation, while Prof. Nur Misuari headed the MNLF contingent. Indonesian Ambassador Rezlan I. Jenie, OIC-PCSP chair, presided the said meeting.
According to the report of the GPH-MNLF Technical Committee, “The Parties, recognizing the possibilities for reform in light of the postponement of the ARMM elections believe that they should avail of the opportunity and use the period to work together with concerned stakeholders to capacitate the ARMM as a complementary mechanism for the full implementation of the 1996 GPH-OIC-MNLF Final Peace Agreement (FPA).”
The report likewise stated that both parties have agreed to effect the following: facilitate participation of the MNLF in the ARMM governance reforms; hasten the completion of the drafting of a bill to amend RA (Republic Act) 9054, the Organic Act of ARMM, to comply with the FPA; complete the devolution of National Agencies to the ARMM in accordance with RA 9054; facilitate the implementation of the provisions on representation in the National Government and in all Organs of the State; improve capacity of ARMM to ensure delivery of basic services to the ARMM’s constituents; and improve the peace and order condition on the ground and protect human rights, among others.
During the meeting, the GPH and the MNLF were also able to reach a “consensus on strategic minerals,” which is one of the pertinent issues. These include an interim co-management arrangement on approval of permits, and monitoring of compliance to the contracts, among others.
Unresolved issues, said the report, will be discussed by the GPH, MNLF, and OIC-PCSP on or before September 30.
No longer a negotiation
Deles said that the peace process with the MNLF is no longer a negotiation, but a conversation about completing the implementation of the 1996 FPA. The OIC-PCSP has been facilitating the discussions between the two parties.
“The primary purpose of the Tripartite Process with the OIC and MNLF is to monitor and ensure full implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement. It does not in any instance reopen negotiations which were completed in 1996 as clearly expressed in the Totality Clause of the FPA,” she stated.
The peace adviser added that the reform process in the ARMM will provide prospects for collaborative efforts. “The Aquino administration’s program of reforms in the region creates opportunities for all good intentioned stakeholders to work with both national government and LGUs [local government units] in enhancing the capacity of the ARMM to provide basic public services through good governance.”
Deles also noted that the reform process “will engage the multiple participation of all relevant stakeholders.”
“We are pleased that the MNLF, as signatory to the FPA, has agreed to partner with government in this very difficult process,” she said.

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