AQUINO FORMS BODY TO ASSIST NEGOTIATORS IN TALKS WITH MUSLIM REBELS
[PHOTO AT LEFT - TERESITA QUINTOS-DELES: Peace-Woman. Posted on 15 Jul 2010 at 7:30pm Courtesy of ... philippinesgraphic.com]
COTABATO CITY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2010 (STAR) (Xinhua) - President Benigno Aquino III has formed an advisory body tasked to assist government negotiators for Moro Islamic Liberation Front ( MILF) rebels when talks resumes later this month in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Teresita Deles, Aquino's peace adviser, said Sunday that the body will compose of members from the Congress, retired justices of the Supreme Court, members of the 1987 Constitutional Commission, local governments in strife-affected areas, non government organizations and former chairmen of previous peace panels.
Deles said Aquino created the group for "greater transparency and accountability" in the peace negotiations with the MILF.
[PHOTO AT LEFT - President Aquino faces task of achieving peace with the Muslim rebels. Photo courtesy of asianews.it]
"The advisory body would not just advise the government panel with MILF but also the panel to be constituted to talk with the New People's Army (NPA)," Deles said in statement.
"Peace process has to be as transparent and with greater accountability as far as possible so we met with civil society to tell them that government is very much in consultation with them in the peace negotiations so we will know who will represent them in the peace panel," she added.
Deles said she had already met House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile for them to designate their representatives to the advisory body.
Meanwhile, she said Aquino will sign next week the memorandum guidelines that would set the parameters, mandates and responsibilities of the panel.
Deles reiterated the negotiation will start from the agreements and discussions.
Peace talks are expected to resume after the Ramadan in Kuala Lumpur. The negotiation might start late September to early October due to Malaysia's week-long celebration of Eid'l Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
In his first state-of-the-nation address in July, Aquino said he is hoping that the peace talks with the MILF will resume after the month-long Ramadan.
The MILF said earlier the government must resolve the problem in Mindanao within the six-year term of Aquino's administration as more of their young fighters are getting radicals and militants.
In 2008, peace talks between the government and the MILF collapsed due to aborted signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain, prompting some MILF commanders to stage attacks on civilian communities.
The MILF has been fighting government troops for decades to establish a self-rule Muslim state in the southern part of the Philippines .
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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