SF CHRP

SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.

Mixed Reactions on MILF-GPH Peace Pact

The two chief negotiators, MILF negotiator Mohagher Iqbal (left) and government of the Philippines chief negotiator Marvic Leonen, shake hands after signing the preliminary peace pact on Monday (photo by Lyn Rillon/Inquirer News).

Recently the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Government of the Philippines (GPH) signed a peace deal in Malaysia to end hostilities between the two sides.  However, while some are welcoming the peace deal others are questioning how the deal will be able to address the concrete systemic poverty and social inequality on the ground for many within the Bangsamoro region.  Also the deal is vague on how much regional autonomy the new Bangsamoro region will obtain, how it will address poverty, issues of crime and militia groups, interference by Manila, and issues of self-autonomy surrounding economic and social development.

In a Davao Today article Danilda L. Fusilero writes:

“The Bangsamoro masses, and the Filipino people, need to be vigilant as there is a wide sea to cross between text and action, between signing a pact and translating it into building the mechanisms to actualize the Moro people’s right to autonomous governance,” says peace advocacy group Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao (InPeace) convener Bishop Felixberto Calang.

InPeace warns that already “This peace rhetoric is already being betrayed by the Aquino government’s attacks on civil liberties with the passage of the Cybercrime Law and the unabated killing of indigenous peoples, environmentalists, and activists.”

The Moro Human Rights group Kawagib said the agreement is more likely limited to the proposed political structure and system. It failed to mention clear parameters on economy and social justice, among others.

“The framework which will serve as guidelines in the formulation of the basic law does not even consider a grave fact of landlessness among the grassroots Moro farmers,” said Bai Ali Indayla, secretary general of Kawagib.

Indayla challenged the Aquino government of showing sincerity through inclusion of issues affecting the majority of the Bangsamoro.

“Ang totoong usaping pangkapayapaan ay di dapat hiwalay sa totoong kalagayan ng mga nakakaraming Bangsamoro (Genuine peace negotiations are not separated from the conditions of the many Bangsamoro people),” she said.

Indayla also scored the national government of being a “schemer” on its approach of taking peacetalk agreements with MILF without considering the existing groups like the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).  She said these groups could be among the potential disgruntled sectors should the government failed to address their respective issues accordingly.

Jaime Sinapit, for InterAkyson news, focuses on the peace framework and its relations towards the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP):

The government cannot use the draft framework agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to force the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) to go back to the negotiating table in the absence of  clear guarantees, chief National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni said Sunday.

“The propaganda of the GPH (Government of the Philippines) on the signing of this Framework next week is to pressure the NDFP to agree on a ceasefire and resume formal GPH-NDFP peace negotiations,” Jalandoni said in a statement released by the CPP Bureau.

First, the government must comply with basic binding GRP/GPH bilateral agreements such as the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), Jalandoni said.

“There are still major points to be negotiated, namely Power Sharing, Wealth Sharing, Transitional Arrangements and Modalities, and Normalization. These have to be negotiated in detail and put down in four annexes which will form part of the framework agreement. The current draft contains certain dangers,” he said.

GPH panel head Marvic Leonen had stressed that the contents of the framework agreement must be in accord with the GPH Constitution and legal processes, he noted, so that “there is a lot of dependence on the GPH executive and legislative branches.”

Jalandoni also doubted the sincerity of the Aquino administration noting the timing of the framework agreement.

“It (government) is making it a big propaganda to cover up the basic problems of the Filipino people, such as the series of oil price hikes, soaring prices of basic commodities, demolitions of urban poor communities, lack of genuine land reform and national industrialization, and violation of national sovereignty in allowing US military intervention in the country.”

Chief MILF negotiator, Mohagher Iqbal, was quoted in the Inquirer, saying:

“Let me tell you that no doubt the framework agreement on the Bangsamoro is the best possible peace pact that can be signed by the parties. Pushing them too far will be like asking them to tread the pathways of independence or send them to the brink of war,’’

“It is a paper that enumerates the political commitments of the Government of the Republic (of the Philippines) to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and what it creates is not something that is exclusive to the MILF. It will create a new Bangsamoro Basic Law that will create the Bangsamoro which is the regional arrangement that we will have down south,’’

In another article from Davao Today Alex D. Lopez interviewed NDFP chief negotiator Jalandoni via e-mail:

The current draft contains certain dangers. There is a lot of dependence on the GPH executive and legislative branches. For example, “the draft Bangsa Moro Basic Law submitted by the Transition Commission shall be certified as an urgent bill by the President.” Furthermore, “There shall be created a Transition Commission through an Executive Order and supported by Congressional Resolutions.” While there is no express requirement of adhering to GPH Constitutional and Legal Processes (as in the Tripoli Agreement of 1976) there are, in essence such requirements, and GPH Panel Head Prof. Marvic Leonen has declared that everything in the Framework Agreement must be in accord with the GPH constitution and legal processes.

It remains to be seen how the Bangsamoro, the new autonomous political entity will be formed. The present GPH-MILF Framework Agreement to be signed…is heavily tilted towards the GPH and lessens the independence and autonomy of the Bangsamoro

The propaganda of the GPH on the signing of this Framework next week is to pressure the NDFP to agree on a ceasefire and resume formal GPH-NDFP peace negotiations, without complying with basic binding GRP/GPH bilateral agreements such as the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

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This entry was posted on October 16, 2012 by and tagged , , , , , , , .

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