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MNLF to Gov't: NO MORE TALK

The Moro National Liberation Front will no longer seek further dialogue or consultation with the Aquino administration regarding the 1996 peace agreement because the government has chosen to “abrogate” the pact through its actions, a spokesman said on Saturday. MNLF spokesman Absalom Cerveza, who heads the MNLF peace panel, said the Aquino administration has adopted contradicting positions and alibis resulting in blunders that left the MNLF no option but to declare independence. “The government has no other option, but to recognize the rights of Moro people in the same way the United States granted independence to the Republic of the Philippines in 1945 under the Tydings-MacDuffie law,” Cerveza said. “The closure of the peace agreement has given [MNLF Chairman Nur] Misuari freedom to pursue other options,” Cerveza said, adding that the MNLF will now seek recognition of the Moro people’s riught to self-determination before the United Nations. “So now Misuari is going to UN to file a petition for the decolonization [of Mindanao] because this part of the country was annexed unilaterally by the government with out the consent of the Moro people,” Cerveza added. But the Aquino administration said it remained committed to its obligations under the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the MNLF, according to Undersecretary Jose Lorena of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. Lorena said the government has no intention of abrogating or abandoning the FPA, and has been continuing its positive engagements with the MNLF, contrary to the claims of MNLF leader Nur Misuari. “The Aquino administration has always engaged the MNLF since 2010 and will continue to do so under the existing mechanism as we have conveyed to the (Organization of Islamic Cooperation —Peace Committee for Southern Philippines),” Lorena said after Misuari declared a Bangsamoro Republic over parts of Mindanao. Lorena said Misuari, along with his contingent is always being invited and “present in the Tripartite Implementation Review meetings and other related meetings over the past three years.” The government, MNLF and the OIC have been engaging in a tripartite review of the implementation of the final peace agreement since 2007. The review process is being facilitated by the OIC-PSCP, which is chaired by Indonesia. “As far as the (Government of the Philippines) is concerned, we are not aware of any reason for them to claim that government has abandoned them,” Lorena said. “Our aim has always been to complete the Tripartite Implementation Review so that we can move forward with concrete actions towards the development of MNLF communities, which we have already started,” he added. “We encourage Mr. Misuari to be a partner in ensuring the welfare of MNLF communities and actively engage with us in the drafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law which will include the agenda of the MNLF,” he added. Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles had earlier said the government’s main objective in pushing for the completion of the tripartite review is to start the implementation process for the consensus points and mechanisms that the Parties have agreed on. “We have already informed the OIC through the chair and members of the [Peace Committee for Southern Philippines chaired by Indonesia] that we think it is time to draw a conclusion to the review process,” she said. Deles also cited Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa’s “firm support for the efforts being undertaken by the GPH to ensure a comprehensive settlement of the armed conflict in Southern Philippines.” “He was categorical in stating that Indonesia opposes any attempt to jeopardize the territorial integrity of the Philippines and that any such move falls outside the ambit of the agreed upon Tripartite Review Process,” Deles said. With Maricel V. Cruz
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