Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Collapse of gov’t-MILF talks on Moro homeland ‘most serious threat to peace’

The collapse of the talks between the Arroyo government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on an expanded Moro homeland is “the most serious threat” to the peace process and may eventually lead to war, according to an analyst.

Zainudin Malang, a lawyer of the Bangsa Moro Center for Law and Policy, warned that the collapse Friday in Kuala Lumpur of the government-MILF talks on ancestral domain “is the most serious threat to a peaceful and negotiated solution to the peace process.”

Malang, an analyst of the government-MILF peace process, said the “level of skepticism over the negotiating parties’ sincerity is approaching irreversible levels, if not so already,” he said in an e-mail sent to Newsbreak, in response to the collapse of the talks.

“Frustrations over past un-implemented peace pacts, coupled with flip-flopping stance on this latest peace process risks transforming the Mindanao conflict into an unmanageable type of war,” Malang said.

Backtrack on plebiscite

According to a report by Reuters news agency, the government’s attempt to push back the timing of a plebiscite that would expand the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was the reason for the collapse of the talks.

Reuters said government negotiators tried to delay the referendum on enlarging a previous Muslim homeland until after a political agreement was reached.

This would have reneged on a previous commitment to hold the vote six months after a deal on territory was signed, originally scheduled for August 5. MILF negotiators walked out of the meeting.

Both sides had hoped to wrap up the talks on an ancestral homeland last Friday in Kuala Lumpur ahead of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's annual state of the nation address tomorrow.

But Press Secretary Jesus Dureza, the former presidential adviser on the peace process, said Saturday there is still hope for the peace process.

“The peace process is a continuing effort. In the latest talks in Kuala Lumpur over the last few days to finalize the draft agreement, there remain some differences. Although the meeting did not immediately bring about progress in the ancestral domain issue, I am sure that the parties will continue to look for ways to hurdle the difficulties and move the process forward.” (abs-cbnNews.com)

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