MIDSAYAP, NORTH COTABATO — Officials of the government and leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) separately vowed to put before their respective constituencies the proposed final peace agreement before it is signed.

“No final peace agreement will be signed without the government making it known to the people first,” Secretary Teresita Q. Deles, presidential adviser on the peace process, said in a statement issued on Saturday.

For the MILF, spokesperson Von Al-Haq stressed that the Moro rebels will continue its advocacy for transparency with the Bangsamoro people.

“Every development [in the peace process], we always bring it to the ground for consultation with our stakeholders,” he said on the phone on Sunday.

The two sides have reached a significant stride in the 15-year-old peace talks last month with the signing of the Decision Points on Principles, which shall serve as the framework in the discussion and formulation of the comprehensive peace compact.

Both sides have since separately conducted consultations regarding the breakthrough in parts of Mindanao.

Amity talks are slated to resume this month with the discussion expected to focus on the crucial issues of power and wealth sharing.

Ms. Deles insisted the “government has no hidden agendas” when it comes to the negotiations with the Moro rebels or with any other groups. “The promise of the government is that before there is a document that is to be signed, it is going to be publicized,” she said.

Ms. Deles said the government wants to come out with a plan that addresses the concerns of the party it is talking with, adding that it should also be acceptable to the Filipino people.

Internationally, she noted, it should be seen as the best the government can offer under the circumstances.

Meanwhile, Ms. Deles, government chief negotiator Mario Victor F. Leonen and some members of the government panel arrived in Zamboanga City over the weekend to consult with local government officials and members of the civil society on the progress of the talks.

Peace Advocates Zamboanga, which is the group that facilitated the consultation, asked how the future accord would redress the innocent victims of the war and other grievances.

Ms. Deles responded that part of the negotiation is to create a “Bangsamoro Commission” which will oversee such problems.

As the government is starting to gain support on the talks, the MILF, meanwhile, held a meeting with the MNLF to discuss what the ongoing talks have achieved and how the two fronts will integrate their efforts.

Jun Mantawil, head of the MILF peace panel secretariat, said the meeting held in Davao City on Saturday was a follow-up to a series of fraternal consultations in the past with the aim of finding consensus points to promote the higher interests of the Bangsamoro people. “Nothing formal is to be agreed by the two parties except perhaps a meeting of the minds to work for the higher cause of the Bangsamoro people,” he explained. — Romer S. Sarmiento and Darwin T. Wee Source: http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Nation&title=Parties-pledge-consultations-before-finalizing-peace-deal&id=52052


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