MANILA: The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has organised six teams to start an information campaign on the recent framework agreement signed with the government and aimed at bringing lasting peace to volatile Mindanao, according to a front leader.
In its official website, Sheikh Mohammed Muntassir, the head of the MILF Da’Wah Department, said the teams were sent to six areas to brief and explain to residents especially the “ambiguous” provisions of the historic document signed in Malacanang Palace on Oct.15.
Mohagher Iqbal, the MILF chief peace negotiator, has admitted in the same website it was not easy to explain to ordinary people especially the ambiguous provisions in the framework agreement.
But Iqbal explained this was necessary to give the two panels enough “elbow room” to draft a peace treaty that would end decades-long war and violence in Mindanao.
According to Muntassir, the teams would concentrate on six areas in their campaign, namely: Sulu,Tawi-Tawi and Basilan; Zamboanga peninsula; Lanao and Davao; Maguindanao, Cotabato and South Cotabato.
At the heart of the framework agreement is the establishment of a new Bangsamoro juridical entity to be carved out initially from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
ARMM, one of the country’s poorest regions, is composed of the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan and Sulu as well as Marawi City which are included in the MILF’s information campaign.
Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino has described ARMM as a “failed experiment” which was set up in 1996 following the signing of a peace agreement between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
Under its agreement with the MILF, Aquino was to set up a 14-member Transition Commission mandated, among others, to draft a bill to be presented to Congress for the establishment of the new Bangsamoro political entity.
Government and MILF negotiators have admitted they still have a long way to go but expressed optimism they would succeed in drafting a peace treaty to be signed before the end of the year.