Dureza vows to 'achieve milestones' as GPH, MILF, restart peace talks

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(File photo) MILF and MNLF leaders met with then President-elect Rodrigo Duterte in mid-June to discuss peace in Mindanao.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Representatives of the government peace panel and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will meet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Saturday to discuss the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

"We will do our best to achieve certain milestones," Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said as he and other members of the government panel left for Kuala Lumpur early Friday.

 

He hopes a new version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) can be crafted "as quickly as possible while our national government is working toward federalism."

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said if the talks with the Moro rebel groups would succeed, a framework for federalism can be drafted by the end of the year.

"We are appealing to the Bangsamoro to come together and work (out) their difference(s) and come up with their proposed enabling law," Dureza said.

Congess failed to pass the BBL, which aimed to establish a political entity called Bangsamoro, with a basic structure of government that would allow the Bangsamoro people to exercise self-governance.

It was supposed to be the law that would implement the CAB, the landmark peace deal between the government and rebels signed in March 2014. The CAB seeks to put an end to the decades-old conflict in Mindanao.

Related: ‘Disappointment’ over non-passage of BBL entices extremism in Mindanao — OPAPP

Inclusive peace process

Dureza said the panels in Kuala Lumpur will also discuss key provisions in the CAB that can already be implemented, including the delivery of socio-economic development programs in Mindanao.

Dureza also said the government peace panel wants to increase the number of members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), a body tasked to draft the new enabling law. He said the current BTC has 15 members, eight of them are from the MILF, and the rest are government appointees.

"When you have more membership, ma-expand natin, mas marami tayong sectors na makakapag-participate [We can expand, more members can participate]," Dureza said.  "We want to make it as inclusive as possible."

Dureza said the government peace panel is also looking forward to meeting with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari.

Misuari is facing an arrest warrant for rebellion in connection with the Zamboanga siege in 2013 when MNLF rebels attacked government forces in the city and took about 300 civilian hostages. The military said more than 200 people were killed during the fighting that lasted for almost a month.

The MNLF signed a peace agreement with the Philippine government in 1996 but there was a failure in the implementation.

Dureza earlier said the existing peace agreement with the MILF will be implemented in a manner that will ensure inclusion of other Mindanao-based rebel groups, including the MNLF.

Also read: Government peace advisers launch Bangsamoro book