Professor Miriam Ferrer, Chair, Government of the Philippines panel negotiating peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, briefed media at today’s Forum organized by the Catholic Media Network in Ilustrado Restaurant, Intramuros, Manila. NJ Viehland Photo
Press Briefing, Malacañang
Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, CHAIR, GPH Panel
25 March 2014
On March 27 we will, we shall, sign the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
There is no turning back. Only moving decisively forward. The peace train is on track. Its design is complete. Most of its elements are in place.
Although it had a slow start, it eventually picked up speed.
In the last 18 months from the historic signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) on October 15, 2012, we have produced:
– The four Annexes – on Transitional Arrangements and Modalities, Revenue Generation and Wealthsharing, Powersharing, and Normalization
– one Addendum – the Addendum on Bangsamoro Waters and the Zones of Joint Cooperation
– five Terms of Reference for our five mechanisms – the Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT), the Independent Commission on Policing (ICP), the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB), the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), and the Joint Normalization Committee (JNC)
and renewed our TORs for the IMT and AHJAG.
And now the CAB, a short 5-page, 12 point text that will formalize the completion of the negotiations.
The CAB puts together all signed agreements: the FAB, the four Annexes and Addendum, also the very first, very important document, the Ceasefire Agreement of 1997; the Agreement on Peace signed in 2001 in Tripoli which laid down the agenda for the talks; the Declaration of Continuity of Negotiations in June 2010 which picked up the pieces from the failed MOA-AD of 2008, etc…
The CAB text to be signed:
(1) Reiterates the principles of the negotiation, namely:
– recognition of the justness and legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people, their aspiration for meaningful autonomy through a democratic process
– the aim of finding a solution to the Bangsamoro Question with honor, justice and dignity
– the aim to end the fighting between the government and the MILF and promote peace and stability
– the recognition of the responsibilities of the Parties to protect and enhance the rights of the Bangsamoro people and all other inhabitants, correct historical injustice, and equitably diffuse wealth and political power.
(2) Reiterates the commitment to all signed documents
(3) Thanks all those who played important roles in the process
(4) Provides the principles of implementation: Mutual respect for the right to one’s identity; continuing dialogues and consultations, leading to the establishment of a Bangsamoro government that will protect individual and collective rights, and be truly democratic, accountable and representative of the diversity of its populace; and for the parties to abide by the modalities and mechanisms provide d. Most important, to ensure the integrity of the whole process.
The whole negotiating panels of the GPH and the MILF will sign the document. On the GPH end, the signatories would be: myself; panel members Senen Bacani, Yasmin Busran-Lao, Mehol Sadain; panel consultants Zenonida Brosas and Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon.
Undersecretary Yasmin Lao, Presidential Assistant for Muslim Concerns, will be among signatories of the Comprehensive agreement on the Bangsamoro on Thursday as member of the Government of the Philippines panel of negotiators with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. She briefed the media at today’s Forum in Ilustrado Restaurant, Intramuros, Manila organized by the Catholic Media Network. NJ Viehland Photo
On the MILF end, the signatories would be: Mohager Iqbal, Datu Michael Mastura, Maulana “Bobby” Alonto, Abhoud Syed Lingga, Abdulla Camlian and Datu Antonio Kinoc.
The Malaysian Facilitator, Tengku Dato’ Abdul Ghafar Tengku Mohamed will also sign as witness.
The signing will be done in the presence of Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and the Dato Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Hj Abdul Razak.
It will be done in the presence of more than 1,000 people before the Palace grounds.
The sealing of the comprehensive agreement is important not only for the Bangsamoro, the people of Mindanao and all other Filipino citizens who have all to gain as one country pursuing its unfinished task of nation-building.
It is also our global contribution to the pursuit of peace in our immediate neighborhood, the Southeast Asian region, and the rest of the world. The last momentous agreement of this kind was that sealed in Aceh, Indonesia between the Republic of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement in 2005.
Many other countries continue to face similar troubles. Our experience, our mechanisms, our approaches have become a rich source of inspiration to these countries that remain challenged by their respective domestic conflicts.
Moreover, our document would be unique in that it would be the first such agreement to be signed by a woman, not only as one of two chief signatories to a comprehensive agreement, but also because a total of three women – one half of the 6-person negotiating team of the GPH, and about one-fourth of the total number of signatories – would be signing it. Happy women’s month to everyone!
The point, however, is not simply that you have women in Track 1, but that this agreement is a partnership in many ways: a partnership between the Bangsamoro and the Philippine government, between and among peoples of different faiths and ethnicity, and between men and women.
And together, we can make it all happen. Together, we can make peace, not war.
That said, the historic signing is but a short station stop in this difficult but rewarding journey to build peace, attain development and exercise meaningful autonomy for the Bangsamoro and the other people in the parts of Mindanao that will fall under the autonomous government.
We cannot rest, we shall be moving on, full speed ahead, towards full implementation.