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Palace downplays MNLF plan to question pact in intl forums

October 13, 2012 4:23pm
Malacañang on Saturday downplayed reported plans by the Moro National Liberation Front to question before international forums the framework peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Organization of Islamic Conference will be represented at the signing of the pact in Malacañang on Monday.

“That will be up to them. The secretary general of the OIC will also be present on Monday,” she said on government-run dzRB radio.

Earlier reports quoted Habib Mujahab Hashim, head of the MNLF’s Islamic Command Council, as accusing government of betraying the MNLF for the pact with the MILF.

He was quoted as saying they will bring the matter to the OIC. The MNLF is an observer in the OIC.

But Valte pointed out OIC secretary general Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu is among the personalities who are expected to attend Monday’s signing.

Earlier this week, the OIC joined the international community in welcoming the framework peace agreement but indicated it is cautiously optimistic about it.

"The (OIC) spokesperson (said) the OIC received the news with both hope and cautious optimism, hoping that it will constitute a solid foundation for an overall agreement that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Bangsamoro people. The OIC hopes that this will usher in a new phase of consolidating peace and start the long awaited development process of the region," it said.

But the OIC reiterated its position that the 1976 Agreement will continue to formulate the basis for any settlement of the conflict that is acceptable by all factions of the Bangsamoro people.

The Tripoli Agreement is between the Philippine government and the Moro National Liberation Front, facilitated by the OIC.

It seeks to provide autonomy to 13 areas in Mindanao, including Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, and Palawan.

Still, the OIC said Ihsanoglu congratulated both the Philippine government and the MILF for reaching the “framework agreement” aimed at ending the long-standing conflict in Mindanao.

Also, the OIC said it will "continue to monitor the developments and to offer assistance to all parties to consolidate their endeavors to reach this noble goal of peace and prosperity for the population."

OIC, which has 57 member states, is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations.

It said it is the "collective voice of the Muslim world and ensuring to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world."

On the other hand, MNLF leader Nur Misuari threatened to file in court a suit against the Philippine government for signing the framework agreement with the MILF.

He said the framework agreement violated international laws and could be brought before the International Court of Justice.

Peace panel prepared to explain pact

Meanwhile, Valte reassured local governments in Mindanao the government peace panel is prepared to explain several provisions of the framework agreement that they may find questionable.

“Kung may provision na hindi malinaw bukas ang peace panel. Patuloy ang paglilingkod ng member ng peace panel para magbigay ng paliwanag (If there are vague provisions, the peace panel is open to addressing them),” she said.

Earlier reports said the Zamboanga City government and some stakeholders sought to defer the signing of the framework agreement.

They should “genuine and meaningful consultations” of the provisions and contents of the agreement before the pact is signed. — LBG, GMA News
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