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Montesa is new gov’t chair for Tripartite Review of 1996 GRP-MNLF pact
Contributed by MindaNews Friday, 06 November 2009 20:50

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/06 November) – Peace Process Assistant Secretary Camilo Miguel “Bong” Montesa is the new chair of the government in the Tripartite Committee that is tasked to review the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The MNLF holds an observer status in the pan-Islamic organization. Montesa takes over the chairmanship from Nabil Tan, the first vice governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and vice chair of the government peace panel that forged the final peace pact with the MNLF in 1996. Tan, who resigned from his post on November 3, served as government chair and head of delegation since the first tripartite meeting in November 2007 in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Tripartite Committee reviews the implementation of the 1996 agreement. Montesa was named new chair by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Annabelle T. Abaya. Montesa, a lawyer who hails from Cagayan de Oro, is head of the Peacekeeping and Peacemaking Group at OPAPP and has served for a couple of years in the government peace panel that is negotiating peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). In a press statement, Abaya directed Montesa to “find ways to hasten the review process and complete the implementation of the remaining pending issues” of the 1996 pact. Montesa said there is a “need for a more inclusive process to review the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement and to see whether or not the implementation adheres to the basic agreement and whether it responds to the core issues which brought the conflict in the first place.” “The proof of the pudding is whether there is more peace, more development in Mindanao to date,” he added. Under Phase 1 of the implementation, a total of 7,500 former MNLF fighters had been integrated into the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP). In addition, some 13,000 former MNLF rebels and their families in 115 municipalities in Mindanao have been given livelihood assistance, skills training, resettlement housing and study grants, the press statement said. The government also implemented 937 projects and sub-projects related to education, health and sanitation, water supply, agriculture and transportation infrastructures such as bridges, piers, and farm-to-market roads, it added. The USAID’s Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) program has implemented 745 projects and sub-projects, the press statement read. Other projects undertaken by the Action for Conflict and Transformation (ACT) For Peace program included seaweeds production, ice-making project, cattle-raising, corn and vegetable production, and other livelihood assistance in addition to the provision of a Bangsamoro Community Fund Assistance in Maguindanao and Tawi-Tawi, it added. (MindaNews)

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