Philippine govt, MILF agree to continue cease-fire

Government says pledge will give breathing room for peace process -- which is stalled in Congress -- to continue under next presidential administration

Philippine govt, MILF agree to continue cease-fire

World Bulletin / News Desk

Peace negotiators from the Philippines government and the country's one time largest Moro revolutionary front have agreed to extend their cease-fire until March 2017.

Government-owned radio station DZRB quoted Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III as saying that the pledge with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would give breathing room for the process to continue under the next administration.

Congress adjourned earlier this month week for election campaigning without approving Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) before new Philippines leaders -- and with them, a new political outlook -- are sworn in on the back of the May 9 presidential vote.

It does not reconvene until June 30.

BBL would have created an autonomous Muslim region in the southern Philippines, bringing 17-years of peace negotiations to a close, and ending a separatist conflict that has killed around 150,000 people.

Quezon underlined that that the process as an important deterrent to security threats and terrorism.

“It is not in the interest of any side -- not the government and not the groups involved in the peace process. No one wins in a war, not the government and not our Moro brothers," the Philippine Star quoted him as saying Sunday.

Security officials had earlier told reporters in Manila that the cease-fire should go beyond 2017 as renewed hostilities would likely force a number of foreign and local investors to stop doing business in the impoverished region of Mindanao.

Government and MILF panels also expressed their disappointed over the Philippine Congress’ failure to pass the BBL, but reaffirmed their commitment to the process and to preserve the gains of the more than 17 years of negotiations through a Joint Resolution issued during the special meeting held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Feb. 10-11, 2015.

The two parties further committed to implement the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) -- the original peace deal signed by the government and the MILF in 2014 -- and agreed that the means forward is the early passage of the BBL in the next Administration and Congress

Passage of the BBL is a requirement for implementation of significant aspects of the CAB, including the decommissioning of MILF weapons and combatants.

Both panels further vowed to exert efforts to promote understanding and greater acceptability of the proposed law.

They also agreed to renew the mandate of the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) until March 31, 2017 as part of ensuring the long-standing cease-fire.

AHJAG is a cease-fire mechanism that prohibits criminal syndicates/kidnap for ransom groups and terrorist groups operating in the southern Muslim region of Mindanao.

Last Mod: 14 Şubat 2016, 13:46
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