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UP Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer is new head of govt peace panel for MILF talks

December 7, 2012 4:39pm
Amid relief and rescue efforts in the wake of the deadly Typhoon Pablo, a palace spokesperson on Friday announced that President Benigno Aquino III has chosen a new head of the government peace panel for talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“We are pleased to announce that President Aquino has appointed Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer as the new head of the Government Peace Panel [for peace talks with the MILF],” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a text message to reporters.

UP professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer. -- File photo from OPAPP website
Coronel-Ferrer is a University of the Philippines (UP) political science professor. She was also one of 27 Filipinos nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

She will replace former head of the government peace panel Marvic Leonen, who was appointed associate justice of the Supreme Court on November 21.

Leonen and the other members of the peace panel successfully negotiated a landmark framework deal with the MILF.

The framework agreement signed by the Philippine Government and the MILF is hoped to pave the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro political entity, to replace the “failed” Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Coronel-Ferrer, who has been with the government peace panel since 2010, served as adviser of the technical working groups on power-sharing and normalization, one of the hottest points of debate between the government of the Philippines and the MILF.

In a statement, Office of the President for the Peace Panel (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita Deles lauded Aquino’s choice, saying Coronel-Ferrer has the experience that the head of the government panel needs to steer negotiations in the right path.

“Professor Ferrer’s appointment signifies continuity and harmony in the peace talks, which is crucial towards the completion of the comprehensive agreement this December,” a statement from the OPAPP said.

Other than her work in the panel, Coronel-Ferrer also served as director of the Programme on Peace, Democratization and Human Rights, as well as the deputy director and subsequently, the director of the University of the Philippines Third World Studies Center.

The next round of talks to finalize the annexes that will complete the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro is set to take place in mid-December.

“Our government remains committed to finish the comprehensive agreement with the MILF before the year ends," Deles said.

While the Palace has kept Coronel-Ferrer’s appointment under wraps, a palace spokesperson earlier hinted that Leonen’s replacement could in fact be a woman.

During the announcement of Leonen’s selection to the High Court, Lacierda revealed that MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal had said in a letter to Leonen that the MILF was willing to work with a chairperson "of any gender or ethnicity."

In the same letter, Iqbal expressed his support of Leonen’s elevation to the Supreme Court. — LBG, GMA News
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