A faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which emerged in the wake of an ouster move against Moro leader Nur Misuari as MNLF chairman a few years back, has thrown its support to the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
Former Sulu governor Yusop Jikiri said in a meeting with Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza in Davao City on November 2 that they have agreed to implement a massive information, education and communication campaign to push forward the BOL’s ratification in January.
COTABATO CITY – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman said Friday he is confident the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) can hurdle scrutiny at the Supreme Court. “We cannot allow the personal interests or anyone to again sow discord where we so clearly need… Read More
Jikiri’s group was also known as the Council of 15 and was formed in late 2001 by the MNLF’s most senior leaders amid claims that Misuari had lost regard of the Moro people. It was previously chaired by Muslimen Sema, Misuari’s vice chair for political affairs, and was recognized by then president Gloria Arroyo as the real MNLF.
In the meeting with Dureza, Jikiri and his group said they were “committed to help the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte by supporting the BOL and campaigning in the plebiscite.”
Jikiri said the campaign would cover “all areas” that were proposed for inclusion in the future Bangsamoro entity.
He said they will partner with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to develop and implement a multi-stakeholder campaign on the issue.
Misuari’s faction was unclear in its support of the BOL. However, it has been reported by Duterte that the aging Moro leader had voiced several concerns over it, including the perception on diminished autonomy and powers. Misuari also insisted on the 1996 peace agreement he had signed with the government.
Duterte had repeatedly said he was talking to Misuari to convince the Moro leader to support the BOL, which he described as the last shot to forging peace in Mindanao.
The President even floated the idea of creating a separate autonomous region for Misuari’s group.
“I’d like to talk to Nur on what he really wanted so that I can give it by the end of the year,” Duterte said in Zamboanga Sibugay in July 2018. He said Misuari can have “autonomy.”
“If that is what he wants and pending the federal system implementation,” he added.
Firdausi Abbas, Jikiri’s foreign minister vice chair, had earlier suggested that Misuari’s faction should also be included, particularly in the composition of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the body that would steer the new region until the elections in 2022.
Abbas, in an interview by Manila Bulletin in August, said the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) can have 80 percent of the representation to the BTA, the members of whom Duterte will be appointing. His group, he added, was willing to take just 10 percent and the remaining 10 percent should go to Misuari’s faction.
“We still consider them (Misuari’s faction) part of the MNLF,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dureza — in a statement — acknowledged the “strong commitment” of Jikiri’s group to help the national government push for a “greater level of public awareness” on the BOL.
“I am very pleased with the MNLF’s determined efforts to help the Duterte administration in generating a groundswell of support for BBL and ensure its ratification,” Dureza told Jikiri during the meeting.
“The MNLF, under the leadership of Chair Jikiri, has over the years been a reliable partner of the national government in sustaining the gains of peace in Mindanao,” he added.
Dureza noted that Monday’s meeting was an affirmation of the Oct. 7 meeting of the Jikiri-led MNLF in Sulu, during which, a resolution was passed declaring the organization’s “unequivocal support” for the BOL. (PNA)
CPP-NPA-NDF in defiant, blatant and serious challenge vs. government
The government negotiating panel on May 27 Saturday afternoon (Manila time) pulled out from the fifth round-of-talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) citing the “blatant and serious challenge” by the communist group to the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a statement read by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza in a press conference in Noordwijk Aan Zee, The Netherlands, the government panel cited several other reasons why it withdrew.
One of major setback was the recent public statement of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) ordering the New People’s Army to accelerate and intensify attacks against the government following the declaration of martial law in Mindanao even if this was “principally directed at extremists and terrorists who openly and defiantly challenged the government and put to harm the Filipino people.”
“By such defiant, blatant and serious challenge by the CPP-NPA-NDF directed at the government under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Dureza said referring to the CPP call to its armed unit.
This, despite all these gains in the work for peace and despite the personal show of goodwill and trust by the President, according to Dureza.
Among the other reasons are the upscale of incidents of offensive attacks by the NPA nationwide; the seeming perception of the bigger public that the NPA operations are an open and public defiance of the President who has consistently accommodated them in unprecedented ways; the renewed surfacing of public apprehension questioning the sincerity of the CPP-NPA-NDF in the peace talks; the public admission of some panel members of the CPP-NPA-NDF leaders that they have no control over their forces on the ground.
Dureza also mentioned the sudden and perceptible erosion of public support to the peace talks, with strong messages received from the public to altogether stop peace negotiations and the clamor to pursue localized peace talks.
The panel has left without any recourse but not to proceed in the 5th round-of-talks until such time that “there are clear indications that an enabling environment conducive to achieving a just and sustainable peace,” Dureza stressed.
“We thank the Royal Norwegian Government which has so far steadfastly and fully supported our joint work for peace for so long. I trust it will understand why we at the Philippine Government side have arrived at the decision,” he added.
The 5th round of negotiations would have tackled the socioeconomic reform agenda. Both sides are also expected to tackle the parameters of the bilateral ceasefire agreement. (Lilian C. Mellejor with reports by Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA)
This was the assessment made by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza after the first panel meeting between the negotiators of the Philippine government (GPH) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) on the on-going peace talks in Oslo, Norway.
Dureza’s statement was shown by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to journalists through Viber video.
Philippine peace panel chairman Jesus Dureza (third from left) leads the representatives of President-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte in laying the agenda for the resumption of formal talks with the National Democratic Front led by panel chairman Luis Jalandoni. Also in photo are (from left) former congressman Hernani Braganza, incoming Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Ambassador Elisabeth Slatum, Special Envoy of the Royal Norwegian Government to the Philippine Peace Process; NDF panel member Fidel Agcaoili and CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison, who signed as NDF Chief Political Consultant. (Photo courtesy of Hernani Braganza)
Earlier in the day, OPAPP said panel and committee level meetings between the two parties were simultaneously done to fast track negotiations as President Rodrigo R. Duterte bids to reach a final peace agreement within six months to a year.
The meetings are being held at the Scandic Holmenkollen Park Hotel in Oslo, Norway.
Topics discussed during the first day of the meetings were the affirmation of previously-signed agreements; accelerated process for negotiations, including the timeline for the completion of the remaining substantive agenda for the talks – – socio-economic reforms, political and economic reforms, and end of hostilities and disposition of forces; and reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) list.
OPAPP said among the documents expected to be re-affirmed by both parties include The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992, Breukelen Joint Statement of 1994, the JASIG, and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
The GPH is represented to the meeting by government negotiators that include former Agrarian Reform Secretary Hernani Braganza, former Commission on Elections Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, and lawyers Angela Librado-Trinidad and Antonio Arellano.
NDF chairman Luis Jalandoni heads the other side along with Fidel Agcaoili, Connie Ledesma, Asterio Palima, and Juliet de Lima-Sison.
Negotiators from both sides have been tasked to supervise simultaneous discussions of the Reciprocal Working Committee on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) , the Reciprocal Working Groups on Political and Constitutional Reforms (PCR) and End of Hostilities-Disposition of Forces (EOH-DOF).
OPAPP said Braganza was assigned to supervise the CASER committee, Sarmiento for PCR, and Arellano and Librado for EOH-DOF.
Also, Royal Norwegian Government Special Envoy for the Peace Process Elisabeth Slattum and her staff served as third party facilitators in moderating the panel and committee discussions. (PNA)