GPH, MILF to formally launch CAB implementation stage in KL meeting

MANILA — Both panels of the Philippine government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will meet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from Saturday to Sunday to formally signify the start of the implementation stage of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

“This (meeting) is actually to launch the implementation stage of what we envisioned to be a Bangsamoro enabling law. It is to implement the CAB that was signed between the government and the MILF in 2014,” Dureza said in a press briefing.

“We have already gotten the consensus of all sectors in the Bangsamoro that the period of the negotiations is over. We are now in the process of implementing all these signed agreements,” he added.

The formal meeting between the GPH and the MILF is the first under the Duterte administration.

The new phase of peace engagement is also aligned with President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement to implement all signed agreements in the country.

Among the agenda of the upcoming meeting include the mechanism that will determine the crafting of a new enabling law in lieu of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), as well as key provisions in the CAB that can already be implemented, such as the delivery of socio-economic development programs in Mindanao.

The presidential peace adviser added that the meeting would also cover the composition of the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), a body tasked to draft the new enabling law.

He stressed the need to expand the representations of the BTC to include leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), officials of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and other sectors in Mindanao for it to be inclusive.

“If everything goes well, and it is acceptable in their convergence, that can be very well be the mechanism to start of the groups to already come together and craft of the enabling law,” Dureza said, noting that all sectors in the Bangsamoro must be adequately represented.

The current setup of the BTC is composed of eight representatives from the MILF and seven appointees of the government.

Meanwhile, the KL meeting will also serve as a venue for the Duterte administration to brief the Malaysian facilitators on its peace agenda in Mindanao dubbed as “Peace and Development Roadmap”.

Dureza recognized the contribution of Malaysia in the negotiation stage as the third party facilitator in the government’s peace talks with the MILF.

“We would like to brief the Malaysians on our peace and development roadmap under the Duterte administration. Therefore, we thought it’s fitting to give them that due recognition for their contributions to our peace efforts by launching the implementation stage in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

The government delegation will be headed by Dureza, along with the chair of the implementing panel Irene Santiago, and its members, namely: Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Undersecretaries Diosita Andot and Nabil Tan, and Assistant Secretaries Dickson Hermoso and Rolando Asuncion. FILANE MIKEE CERVANTES/ PNA/ northboundasia.com