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Malaysian PM to witness signing of final GPH-MILF peace pact


Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will be among the foreign dignitaries who will witness the historic signing of the comprehensive peace pact between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Thursday.

Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose confirmed Razak's attendance in a text message to reporters.

In a separate press briefing, government chief peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said Razak's presence during the signing is "quite important" because Malaysia played a "very significant role" in the peace negotiations with the MILF.

Since 2001, Malaysia has acted as the third-party facilitator in the peace talks between the MILF and the Philippine government.

"This is also good news for Malaysia. There’s a lot of shared interest in having a peaceful Mindanao in the region as you know, and to that extent, the Malaysian government and the Malaysian people are very much in tune with the progress in these negotiations," Ferrer said.

The Prime Minister's visit to the Philippines on Thursday will come amid the continuing search for the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. On Monday, Razak confirmed it had crashed in the Indian Ocean with the loss of 239 lives.

MNLF leaders too

Aside from Razak, leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) are also expected to witness the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement on the Bangsamoro.

New MNLF chairman Datu HJ. Abul Khayr Alonto will be attending the signing of the peace pact, Ferrer confirmed during the press briefing.

Presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles meanwhile said that Jimmy Labawan, the vice chairman of the MNLF Central Committee, was also invited to the event.

"People who are well associated with the MNLF, who were part of its history, its beginnings, have been invited," Deles said.

She added that some 500 MILF members will also witness the signing of the final peace pact.

'Inspiration' to other countries

Ferrer, for her part, said the signing of the comprehensive peace pact between the Philippine government and the MILF will serve as the country's "global contribution to the pursuit of peace in our immediate neighborhood."

"Many other countries [that] face similar troubles are looking up to us to show the way or possible modalities by which they can also address their own domestic conflicts. Our experience, our mechanisms, our approaches have become a rich source of inspiration to these countries that remain challenged by different sources of domestic hostility," she said.

She added the signing of the final peace deal will serve as a reiteration of both parties' commitment to the principles of the peace negotiation, including the recognition of justness and legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people, and their aspiration for a meaningful autonomy through a democratic process.

Ferrer likewise said that the final peace deal will be "unique" in the sense that a significant number of its signatories are women.

"The point, however, is not simply because you have women, but that this agreement is also a partnership in many ways—a partnership between the Bangsamoro and the Philippine government, between and among people 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," she said. — BM, GMA News
Tags: najibrazak, milf
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