MANILA – The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) on Wednesday announced that it has accepted the role of helping the two Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) groups in its convergence efforts.
This agreement was contained in a resolution signed by OPAPRU Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr. and Bangsamoro Labor and Employment Minister Muslimin Sema, who is also MNLF chairperson.
The meeting on Tuesday between the OPAPRU and the MNLF-Sema Group underscored the determination of the parties to progress the implementation of the Bangsamoro peace agreement.
In a resolution, the MNLF Sema Group said it is "amenable to pursue convergence efforts with the MNLF group under the leadership of Chair Nur Misuari."
"The OPAPRU shall facilitate the discussion on convergence between the MNLF Groups. As a vehicle for convergence, a Joint MNLF Executive Committee shall be established to be represented by leaders of the two MNLF Groups that shall provide policy guidance on convergence efforts," it added.
It noted that the current partnership between the government and the MNLF-Sema group would be "renamed into GPH-MNLF Coordinating and Implementing Committee."
Galvez on Monday also met with the group of MNLF-Misuari wing led by MNLF vice chairperson Abdulkarim Tan Misuari and agreed to reconstitute its joint Peace Coordinating Committee into the GPH-MNLF Peace Implementing Committee to carry out the continued implementation that the parties signed in 1996.
The parties also agreed to re-engage the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Islamic body that helped facilitate the peace talks between the government and the MNLF, which led to the signing of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement under the Ramos administration.
The joint resolution said the OPAPRU would facilitate the re-engagement with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for the implementation of the remaining commitments on the Bangsamoro Development Assistance Fund (BDAF) and Tripartite Implementation Monitoring Committee (TIMC).
The BDAF and the TIMC are among the key areas for implementation resulting from the Tripartite Review Process, which culminated in January 2016.
It added that the GPH and MNLF would review the signed documents, such as the Terms of Reference of the BDAF and TIMC vis-a-vis existing policies.
Galvez said the intention of the "Marcos administration is very clear, which is to reconcile and unite the Moro groups in Mindanao and continue with the implementation of all signed Bangsamoro peace agreements."
He said the convergence of the MNLF is critical to ensure the harmonization of the programs and projects as part of the implementation of the peace agreement.
"We are inspired by the convergence effort we have seen in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, wherein all Moro fronts and sectors in the Bangsamoro are now part and running the government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)," the OPAPRU chief noted.
Galvez said it was President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. who took the task of bridging the Moro leaders.
"Just two months into his administration, he helped bridge and reconcile the Moro leaders, and appointed an inclusive new member of the Bangsamoro transition authority – ensuring an equitable composition of the Bangsamoro parliament, composed of young, forward-looking and development-oriented public servants, aims to foster innovation in governance, and at the same time, ensure the meaningful inclusion of women," he said.
Galvez said the engagement between the government and the MNLF-Sema group is currently focused on the transformation of its former combatants, their families, and communities to include those residing outside of the BARMM.
"These efforts to converge the MNLF and the implementation of socio-economic programs for the MNLF communities is part of the Marcos administration's desire that no one should be left behind in the peace process," he said.
Meanwhile, Sema said their group is willing to engage with the MNLF Misuari group and would continue to play its part in the implementation of the peace agreement.
"Collaboration among parties must be maintained. Rest assured that we are ready for the implementation of the Transformation Program," he said.
During the meeting, MNLF Management Committee chairperson Uttoh Salem Cutan turned over to the Presidential Assistant Cesar Yano, the chair of the government management committee, the remaining list of combatants with the corresponding number of firearms to complete the 2,000 slots for this year’s implementation of the Transformation Program.
The remaining list of the combatants is crucial to complete the preparations for the roll-out of the programs in the provinces of North Cotabato, Maguindanao del Sur and Maguindanao del Norte.
"We congratulate one of our longtime peace partners in the MNLF for the milestones and small victories we have achieved in the course of the implementation of the peace agreement," Galvez said. (PNA)