Why negotiate with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines(GRP) when there is already the 1996 GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement ?
From the start of that negotiation, the MILF had adopted a supportive stance, buthalfway in the progress of the talks, things had not turned perfectly well inaddressing the centuries-old conflicts in Mindanao. So the MILF had to downgradeits policy to “wait and see”. When finally the GRP-MNLF finally wrapped up their talks and signed the September 2, 1996 Final Agreement, having examined fully itscontent, we concluded that it would not address this problem:
We put into question the preambular premise that has abandoned the rightof the Bangsamoro people to determine freely their political status and topursue freely their religious, social, economic and cultural development.
Instead of giving genuine self-rule or autonomy to the Bangsamoro people,the Final Agreement has worked for the MNLF elements into total integrationincluding its armed component into the Philippine body politic in the guise of giving autonomy yet paving the way towards their eventual political defeat.
The agreement also failed to give to our people the control over naturalresources, which are all practically classified as “strategic minerals”. TheMNLF agreed to defined these later.
Therefore, we reject the “totality clause” providing that any conflict in theinterpretation of this Agreement is to be resolved in the light of the PhilippineConstitution and existing laws. This, in effect, gives one Party (the GRP)almost blanket authority to interpret this Agreement to the exclusion of theother Party (the MNLF) and the participation of the OIC.
(“Any conflict in the interpretation of this Agreement shall be resolved in thelight of the Philippine Constitution and existing laws”).