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.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mindanao peace talks to start next month

KIDAPAWAN CITY, Philippines—The government expects to resume the stalled peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front next month in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, according to presidential adviser on the peace process Avelino Razon.

Razon made the pronouncement following a dialogue facilitated by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the provincial capitol with local officials on Friday.

However, Razon made it clear that the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), which the Supreme Court had struck down as unconstitutional, would serve only as reference material if negotiations resume.

"We have relayed the willingness of our panel to sit with the MILF counterparts to the foreign minister of Malaysia. We are waiting for the Malaysian government to relay our position as well the response of the rebel group," Razon told reporters.

"The government is sincere in pushing for the talks’ resumption. We are hopeful and optimistic we can talk with them (MILF) as soon as possible," he added.

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone that his group "can't resume the talks if the government will not settle the issue of MOA-AD."

The MILF has been fighting for a separate Muslim homeland.

The talks bogged down in August after the country's Supreme Court stopped the signing of the homeland accord.(Jeoffrey Maitem)

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