COLDEST YET: 15.8OC IN METRO MANILA

The temperature in Metro Manila yesterday plunged to 15.8 degrees Celsius, the coldest recorded in the metropolis so far this year. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said yesterday’s temperature in Metro Manila was only .7 degrees above its all-time coldest temperature of 15.1 degrees Celsius recorded on Feb 4, 1987 and Dec. 30, 1988. “There is a possibility that it could surpass its all-time lowest temperature of 15.1 in the coming weeks,” PAGASA acting administrator Vicente Malano told The STAR. The coldest temperature in the capital was recorded at the PAGASA Science Garden in Quezon City at 4:50 a.m. yesterday. In Baguio City, yesterday’s lowest temperature was recorded at 9.4 degrees Celsius; 13.9 degrees Celsius in Tuguegarao City, 17.5 degrees Celsius in Subic, Zambales; 15.8 degrees Celsius in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, and 13.6 degrees Celsius in Malaybalay, Bukidnon.

ALSO: Int’l community hails peace progress

The European Union and foreign governments welcomed the conclusion of negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for a peace agreement and encouraged quick and full implementation by all parties. Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and vice-president of the commission, said “sustainable peace in Mindanao requires an inclusive approach and all stakeholders, including the Moro National Liberation Front, need to demonstrate their goodwill for long lasting results.” She said the signing of the Annex on Normalization marks the end of a long and difficult process of peace negotiations. She said that the EU, as a member of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) and major development partner in Mindanao since 1990, would continue to fully support the implementation of the process. The EU commended the contribution of the Malaysian facilitator of the peace talks, Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed, as well as the members of the International Contact Group (ICG), to the successful conclusion of the peace negotiations. US Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated the Philippines and the MILF for concluding negotiations toward an historic, comprehensive peace agreement.

ALSO: MNLF: Framework abrogates 1996 peace treaty

DAVAO CITY , Philippines – The Moro National Liberation Front said yesterday that the framework agreement signed over the weekend in Malaysia by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) effectively abrogated the 1996 peace treaty with the MNLF. MNLF spokesman Absalom Cerveza said their group could never accept the annexes of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB). “The Bangsamoro framework is an abrogation of the 1996 final peace agreement with the MNLF. The 1996 peace pact should prevail and not whatever agreement with the MILF,” Cerveza said. He warned the government that hostilities could break out if things do not turn out well with peace agreement with MILF that was signed Saturday in Kuala Lumpur. “War is a possibility but it is not a program. It is not in the program but if the situation demands for it, then we cannot help it,” Cerveza said.


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Coldest yet: 15.8ºC in Metro Manila

MANILA, JANUARY 27, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Helen Flores - The temperature in Metro Manila yesterday plunged to 15.8 degrees Celsius, the coldest recorded in the metropolis so far this year.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said yesterday’s temperature in Metro Manila was only .7 degrees above its all-time coldest temperature of 15.1 degrees Celsius recorded on Feb 4, 1987 and Dec. 30, 1988.

“There is a possibility that it could surpass its all-time lowest temperature of 15.1 in the coming weeks,” PAGASA acting administrator Vicente Malano told The STAR.

The coldest temperature in the capital was recorded at the PAGASA Science Garden in Quezon City at 4:50 a.m. yesterday.

In Baguio City, yesterday’s lowest temperature was recorded at 9.4 degrees Celsius; 13.9 degrees Celsius in Tuguegarao City, 17.5 degrees Celsius in Subic, Zambales; 15.8 degrees Celsius in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, and 13.6 degrees Celsius in Malaybalay, Bukidnon.

Malano said the northeast monsoon would continue to bring cold weather in the country until next month.

Meanwhile, PAGASA weather division chief Robert Sawi said a low-pressure area is expected to enter the country later this week, which may bring rains over eastern Visayas.

Sawi said good weather is expected to prevail over most parts of the country until Thursday. But “by Friday, a low-pressure area is expected to move closer to eastern Visayas, which may bring rains over the region until Sunday.”

Int’l community hails peace progress By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 27, 2014 - 12:00am 1 0 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The European Union and foreign governments welcomed the conclusion of negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for a peace agreement and encouraged quick and full implementation by all parties.

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and vice-president of the commission, said “sustainable peace in Mindanao requires an inclusive approach and all stakeholders, including the Moro National Liberation Front, need to demonstrate their goodwill for long lasting results.”

She said the signing of the Annex on Normalization marks the end of a long and difficult process of peace negotiations.

She said that the EU, as a member of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) and major development partner in Mindanao since 1990, would continue to fully support the implementation of the process.

The EU commended the contribution of the Malaysian facilitator of the peace talks, Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed, as well as the members of the International Contact Group (ICG), to the successful conclusion of the peace negotiations.

US Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated the Philippines and the MILF for concluding negotiations toward an historic, comprehensive peace agreement.

“This agreement offers the promise of peace, security, and economic prosperity now and for future generations in Mindanao,” Kerry said in a statement.

Washington also commended the Malaysian government, facilitator of the talks, and the ICG, for their constructive role in helping resolve a decades-long conflict.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the successful conclusion of negotiations between the government and the MILF for a comprehensive peace agreement is a significant step towards lasting peace and development for Mindanao.

As member of the ICG, Hague said the United Kingdom witnessed the leadership and commitment of President Aquino and the courage and sincerity of the MILF leadership.

Japan, which has extended its support to the peace process for years, is hopeful that the parties concerned will continue their efforts to steadily implement the transition process including the enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law and the establishment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority toward the realization of the Bangsamoro government.

The independent Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) welcomed the agreement reached on Saturday in Kuala Lumpur with the conclusion of the Annex on Normalization, the fourth and final Annex to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed in October 2012.

The TPMT was set up by the government and the MILF to monitor the implementation of the peace agreement, as provided for in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).

The task of the TPMT is to observe and report on the implementation of all signed agreements.

TPMT chair Alistair MacDonald welcomed the conclusion of the Annex on Normalization, saying it is the path towards sustainable peace in Mindanao.

Switzerland welcomed the signing of the final peace agreement between the government and the MILF.

The Swiss embassy described it as a milestone towards a long-lasting peace in the Southern Philippines.

Guarded optimism

Senators have hailed with guarded optimism the recent positive developments on annexes to the Bangsamoro framework agreement in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Teofisto Guingona III and Aquilino Pimentel III remain optimistic that the agreement will pass scrutiny of Congress as well as civil society groups.

Drilon reiterated that the Senate is “more than prepared to work on legislation capacitating the peace accords,” which would end four decades of armed conflict in central Mindanao.

Drilon said the Senate “looks forward to seeing and finally scrutinizing the proposed Bangsamoro law that will institute the necessary reforms called for in the Agreement,” and that the law will be given utmost priority in the Senate.

Trillanes hopes that the disarmament of the MILF forces would not create more problems for the government.

“There will still be a need for plebiscite for the Bangsamoro bill, then we need to create the transition commission. We have questions such as how to implement the disarmament, we need to monitor all these steps,” he said.

Guingona, chairman of the Senate committee on peace, unification, and reconciliation, said the environment of peace and stability has become even more crucial especially at a time when natural calamities hit several areas in Mindanao.

“More important, this brings us closer to the aspiration for genuine peace and development for the Bangsamoro,” Guingona said.

Pimentel also vowed to study every provision in the four annexes so he can be an informed source on the complex issues.

He pointed out the annex on normalization was an indication of the MILF’s sincerity in sealing a peace pact with the government.

Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Deles said the signing of the normalization annex would pave the way for the signing of the final agreement.

“This is indeed a long-awaited moment that is a gift to our people at the start of a new year of renewed hope and commitment,” she said in a statement shortly after the GPH and MILF peace panels signed the document.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman hailed the peace panels for successfully signing the Annex on Normalization, the last of four annexes in the peace negotiations that will finally pave the way to the completion of the comprehensive peace agreement.

“We commend the panels for persevering and braving the needed sacrifices and heeding the clamor of the great majority of Filipinos for a peaceful resolution to the decades-old conflict in Mindanao,” he said.

“2014 is going to be a year of peace for Mindanao. With the signing of the last and final annex of the FAB on Normalization, the comprehensive peace agreement is practically achieved. Kudos to the peace panels,” according to Mary Ann Arnado, secretary-general of the Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC).

Arnado thanked the men and women in and out of the negotiations for the wonderful development in the peace process.

Patricia Sarenas, chair of the Mindanao Coalition of Development (MINCODE), a coalition of 12 networks of non-government organizations and people’s organizations in Mindanao, said her group would continue to support the next steps towards the creation of the Bangsamoro government. – With Roel Pareño, Christina Mendez (MORE ON PEACE TALK AT PNoy'S PAGE-PHNO-PE)

MNLF: Framework abrogates 1996 peace treaty By Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 27, 2014 - 12:00am 0 5 googleplus0 0

DAVAO CITY , Philippines – The Moro National Liberation Front said yesterday that the framework agreement signed over the weekend in Malaysia by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) effectively abrogated the 1996 peace treaty with the MNLF.

MNLF spokesman Absalom Cerveza said their group could never accept the annexes of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).

“The Bangsamoro framework is an abrogation of the 1996 final peace agreement with the MNLF. The 1996 peace pact should prevail and not whatever agreement with the MILF,” Cerveza said.

He warned the government that hostilities could break out if things do not turn out well with peace agreement with MILF that was signed Saturday in Kuala Lumpur.

“War is a possibility but it is not a program. It is not in the program but if the situation demands for it, then we cannot help it,” Cerveza said.

But Cerveza said the MNLF is not pushing for war and is instead going to explore the peaceful and political solution to the problem.

MNLF Islamic Council Command chairman Habib Hashim said the MNLF is going to the United Nations to seek the decolonization of Mindanao.

“We are seeking the decolonization of Mindanao which would comprise not only Mindanao but also Palawan and the Spratlys,” Hashim said.

Cerveza said the government is stupid and naïve for entering into a peace negotiation with its rival faction the MILF when it has reneged on its commitment to implement the provisions of the 1996 final peace pact signed in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Hashim said the MNLF would question before the Supreme Court the legality and legitimacy of the expected final peace agreement with the MILF.

“There are now three petitions filed before the Supreme Court to declare the FAB unconstitutional and illegal. There is a chance that the Supreme Court will declare the FAB as unconstitutional and illegal just like what it did to the MOA-AD (Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain) in 2008,” Cerveza said.

Both Cerveza and Hashim said that the MNLF has already closed its doors on any renegotiation on the 1996 final peace accord.

“No renegotiation, no talks or anything with government,” Cerveza said.

Hashim said the MNLF would never enter into a convergence with the MILF in drawing up the comprehensive peace accord with the latter.

“It is the MILF that should join us and not the other way around. The 1996 peace accord came first before the framework agreement on the Bangsamoro,” Hashim said.

Cerveza said “convergence” with the MILF is totally improbable.

Hashim reiterated that the agreement forged by the government and the MILF continues to violate the existing 1996 agreement with the MNLF and the previous accord, the 1976 Tripoli agreement.

“We (MNLF) are dismayed because any agreement they signed violated the existing peace agreement,” Hashim said.

He also explained that they ignored calls to participate in the crafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) because there is the 1996 final peace agreement which has not been fully implemented by the government.

“Once we participate it will be a violation of our existing agreement because it’s highly unconscionable,” Hashim added.

He said they received reports that about 70 percent of the MILF leaders were dissatisfied with the FAB, which detracted from their original demand of independence.

“Hopefully, the government will not betray the MILF (who agreed on the deal). But there is an exodus of MILF leaders, about 70 percent are going out and most of them are ground commanders,” Hashim said.

He said based on unconfirmed information those who are defecting from the MILF might go back to the MNLF or join Ameril Umbra Kato’s Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF).

Cerveza said the MNLF would accept defecting MILF members.

The MNLF official said the latest agreement forged between the GPH and MILF has not affected the MNLF faction that is calling for independence not only in the area covered by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) but the whole of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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