Q&A with Chief Negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer on the GPH-MILF Peace Process (as of June 13, 2013) Where

are we now? During the last round of formal talks, the Parties agreed to meet again after the elections and in the interim to process the remaining issues in the annexes through an exchange of notes with the help of the facilitator. This exchange of notes has already commenced and through this process, we hope to come as close as possible to agreed language and return to Kuala Lumpur to be able to finalize the Annexes on Power and Wealth-sharing very soon. What are the difficult Because the Annexes will further detail what is provided in issues? the Framework Agreement, it is to be expected that finding agreement on these details has been more difficult and complex. With respect to wealth-sharing: A draft for the Wealth-sharing Annex had indeed been completed by the technical working groups of the Parties. However, prudence on the part of Government requires that it undergoes a final review before the President gives his final stamp of approval. The President is committed to delivering an agreement that will allow the Bansamoro to enjoy effective and meaningful fiscal autonomy but also take into account the legal, political, and administrative constraints of the Central Government. These are the considerations as to why Government wishes to introduce some changes to the draft annex, particularly with regard some aspects of taxation, fund transfer mechanisms, and revenue sharing. With respect to power-sharing: The framework provides for three classes of sharing of powers between the Central Government and the Bangsamoro regional government. These are:  “Reserved” powers or matters over which competencies are fully retained by the central government;  “Concurrent” powers or aspects of jurisdiction subject to the shared or joint authorities of the central and regional governments; and  “Exclusive” powers or competencies that are to be

devolved to the Bangsamoro. The FAB has already identified some of the reserved powers. These are: a) Defense and external security b) Foreign policy c) Common market and global trade, provided that the power to enter into economic agreements already allowed under Republic Act No. 9054 shall be transferred to the Bangsamoro d) Coinage and monetary policy e) Citizenship and naturalization, and f) Postal service This leaves the other aspects of governance, which runs along a wide gamut of governance functions, for negotiation. Finding the language for this that will not only give life to the intention of the parties, but also be legally defensible and “doable,” i.e. politically and administratively feasible, is not a simple task. Learning from the experience of ARMM, Government deems it important that these criteria are met. This is why Government is currently undertaking technical consultations with the departments and line agencies to make sure that the details contained in the drafts are feasible, not only in legal but also in practical terms. For instance, one of the remaining issues in the power-sharing annex has to do with jurisdiction over transportation and communication. Given the need to comply with prevailing international standards and our obligations under international law, any sharing of jurisdiction in this regard will have both legal and international implications that need to be carefully studied. When do you expect to The President and his entire cabinet is giving the peace finish the annexes? negotiations the attention it needs and deserves to ensure that a comprehensive agreement, one that will give us the best shot for a just and enduring peace in Mindanao, is reached at the soonest possible time. The Government Panel is just as anxious to find workable solutions to these contentious issues and is working diligently and with urgency towards this end. Government is fully aware that time is of the essence and does not wish to “pass the buck” to the next administration to implement the agreement. What is/are the Even without the conduct of formal meetings, the peace implication/s of the fact process continues to move forward.

that there are no formal negotiations As mentioned above, the exchange of notes is currently yet? ongoing and Government hopes that this process will allow the Parties to gain more clarity with respect to the current What happens now to language of the Annexes and lead them to an agreement on the mechanisms on the unresolved issues. the ground? (i.e. ceasefire, Transition The Transition Commission has met several times and was Commission, IMT, able to approve its internal rules of procedure as well as setSajahatra) up working committees to draft the Basic Law. Government hopes that even without the Annexes, the TC can soon start discussion on the substantive provisions of the Framework Agreement that will need to find language in the Bangsamoro Basic Law. An example of items that the TC will need to further develop is the provision on the Bangsamoro Government being ministerial in form. Also, confidence-building measures between the Parties continue. One example would be the ongoing planning for the provincial launches of the Sajahatra Bangsamoro. With respect to our agreements on cessation of hostilities, the ceasefire continues to hold well and in fact, no armed skirmishes were recorded for the year 2012. This is testament to the good working relationship between the Government and MILF through the coordinative mechanisms overseeing the implementation of the ceasefire. Both Panels are also taking the time to continue consultations with stakeholders and their respective constituencies. On the part of the Government Panel, these include engagements with government agencies not only for legal and technical concerns relating to the drafts but also to consolidate support for the implementation of the comprehensive agreement and the prospective Bangsamoro Basic Law.

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