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Why negotiate with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines

(GRP) when there is already the 1996 GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement ?
1. From the start of that negotiation, the MILF had adopted a supportive stance, but
halfway in the progress of the talks, things had not turned perfectly well in
addressing the centuries-old conflicts in Mindanao. So the MILF had to downgrade
its 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 its
content, we concluded that it would not address this problem:
•We put into question the preambular premise that has abandoned the right
of the Bangsamoro people to determine freely their political status and to
pursue 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 integration
including 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 natural
resources, which are all practically classified as “strategic minerals”. The
MNLF agreed to defined these later.
•Therefore, we reject the “totality clause” providing that any conflict in the
interpretation of this Agreement is to be resolved in the light of the Philippine
Constitution and existing laws. This, in effect, gives one Party (the GRP)
almost blanket authority to interpret this Agreement to the exclusion of the
other Party (the MNLF) and the participation of the OIC.
(“Any conflict in the interpretation of this Agreement shall be resolved in the
light of the Philippine Constitution and existing laws”).
cont..
2. The MILF believes that the present “constitutional process” is a
narrow framework for the negotiated political settlement of the
Mindanao conflict as well as to resolve the “permanent status”
of the Bangsamoro people.

3. Current trends in the resolution of sovereignty-based conflicts in


many parts of the world such as those in South Sudan, Aceh,
Bougainville, and Kosovo have proffered a new modality that
has advanced the conduct of permanent status referendum for
nation-states as the viable options to armed conflicts between
divided societies in Ireland, Montenegro, Catalan, and the
Basque. It is in this context that the GRP-MILF framework
documents have formulated the sequence, time periods and
transitory process the defined function, ending with the
referendum results.
Start of
GRP-MILF
Peace Process

(January 7, 1997)
(Domestic Stage, Without a Third Party Facilitator)

MILF Deputy Chairman for Political Affairs Ghazali Jaafar


and Executive Secretary Ruben Torres
met twice, one in Davao City, and second in Cagayan de Oro
City on August 3 and September 10, respectively.
They agreed to form the peace panels and technical
committees of both GRP and the MILF.
Creation of
Peace Panels and Technical Committees
(October 25, 1996)

• GRP and MILF Peace Panels headed by former CEMCOM


commander and former Lt. Gen. and then Ambassador
Fortunato Abat and Ghazali Jaafar, respectively.
• Committee on Agenda Setting headed for the GRP by
ASEC. Jovenal Lazaga and for the MILF by Moner
Bajunaid
• Committee on Cessation of Hostilities headed for the GRP
by AFP Chief of Staff Jocelyn Nazareno, and for the MILF
by Atty. Lanang Ali.
Technical Committee on
Cessation of Hostilities
• After the GRP and MILF Peace Panels formed their Technical Committees,
they directed their Technical Committee on Cessation of Hostilities to
meet, which agreed, among other things, for the declaration of an Interim
Cessation of Hostilities in Buldon on January 27, 1997.

– To return the municipal mayor of Buldon who was forced to go to safer


places as a result of the fighting in his town.
– GRP and MILF forces to maintain “as is where is”.
– All AFP troops deployed in Buldon, Maguindanao from January 1, 1997
up to 27 will be withdrawn.
– AFP and MILF will refrain from provocative action against the other.
– The MILF to remove and shall not establish checkpoints, roadblocks
along the road networks from Parang to Buldon.
To prevent further escalation of the fighting in many parts of Mindanao, the
Parties forged the
Agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities
on July 18, 1997 wherein both committed their respective
“Armed Forces” to the Cessation of Hostilities in
Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan.

• To direct their respective sub-committee on cessation of hostilities to meet on


June 30, 1997 to draw and finalize the Guidelines and Ground Rules for the
Implementation of this Agreement.

• To resume and proceed with the Formal Talks in a Venue to be Mutually agreed
upon by the GRP and MILF Peace Panels.

• In a secret document, the GRP agreed to sign to withdraw from Rajamuda on


condition that MILF sign this Agreement.
Supplementary agreements to strengthen the
Agreement on the General Cessation of
Hostilities:
• Implementing Administrative Guidelines on the GRP-MILF
Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities of September 12, 1997
• Implementing Operational Guidelines on the GRP-MILF
Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities of November 14, 1997
• Internal Procedure in the Conduct of the GRP-MILF Meetings
(February 17, 1999)
• Rules and Procedures in the Administration of the Joint Secretariat
of the GRP-MILF CCCHs (May 18, 1999)
• Agreement on Safety and Security Guarantees for MILF Members
Directly and Personally Involved in the Peace Process (March 9,
2000)
• The Parties also created the Quick Response Team (QRT),
Interim Ceasefire Monitoring Committee (ICMC), and the
Independent Fact-Finding Committee (IFFC).
The
Committee
on
Agenda Setting
The MILF
proposed a single talking point
agenda– and the GRP agreed:
“HOW TO SOLVE
THE BANGSAMORO
PROBLEM”
The MILF explained that “How to solve the Bangsamoro
Problem” involves a variety of social, cultural, economic and
political issues and concerns that include, but not limited to
the following:

3. Ancestral Domain
4. Displaced and landless Bangsamoro
5. Destruction of properties and war victims
6. Human rights issues
7. Social and cultural discrimination
8. Corruption of the mind and the moral fiber
9. Economic inequities and widespread poverty
10.Exploitation of natural resources
11.Agrarian related issues

• The above issues and concerns are what we perceived to be the


Bangsamoro problem, which will be addressed through a negotiated
political settlement in the form of a comprehensive compact.

• The late MILF Chairman Salamat Hashim said: “The most civilized and
practical way of solving the BM problem is through a negotiated
political settlement.”
The nine (9) talking points are later
reduced to six (6) points:
1. Ancestral Domain/ Agrarian Related Issues.
2. Destruction of Properties and Victims of War/
Displaced and Landless Bangsamoro.
3. Human Rights Issues.
4. Social and Cultural Discrimination/ Corruption of
the Mind and Moral Fiber.
5. Economic Inequities and Widespread Poverty.
6. Exploitation of Natural Resources
Signing of the
GENERAL FRAMEWORK OF AGREEMENT OF INTENT
BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES (GRP)
AND THE MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT (MILF)
on August 27, 1998 under the Estrada Administration.

• GRP and MILF Panels have renewed their commitment to pursue peace
negotiations on the substantive issues until a political settlement is
reached.
• They committed for the protection and respect of human rights in
accordance with the principles set forth in the Charter of the United
Nations, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
• The Parties pledge to refrain from the use or threat of force to attain
undue advantage while the peace negotiations on the substantive issues
are ongoing.
• The Parties recognize that there will be lasting peace in Mindanao when
there is mutual trust, justice, freedom, and tolerance for the identity,
culture, way of life and aspirations of all peoples of Mindanao.

Note: The use of the word “freedom”, the most contentious issue.
Acknowledgement of seven (7) MILF Camps
out of the 46 camps covered by the cessation
of hostilities
• The acknowledgment of MILF camps is a confidence-building
measures in furtherance of the peace process.
• To effectively implement the general cessation of hostilities and
thus to avoid armed encounters or confrontations between MILF
and GRP forces.
3. Camp Abubak’r As-Siddique in Maguindanao
4. Camp Bushra in Lanao Del Sur
5. Camp Rajamuda in Maguindanao and North Cotabato
6. Camp Darapanan in Maguindanao
7. Camp Omar in Maguindanao
8. Camp Bad’r in Maguindanao
9. Camp Bilal in Lanao Del Norte

First acknowledgment on February 10, 1999


Second acknowledgment was on October 6, 1999.
October 25, 1999
Formal Opening
of the
Peace Talks
in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao
• Three years in preparation
• Ambassador Manuel Yan, GRP chief peace negotiator with
MNLF
• Embassy officials from Manila
• WAMY assistant Secretary General
Agreement on the Rules and Procedures
on the Conduct of the Formal Peace Talks between the
GRP and MILF Panels
(December 17, 1999)
Th e Pa rtie s ag reed o n the ff:
• Agenda for Peace Talks
• To be prepared by GRP and MILF Technical Committees
• Venue and Schedule of the Peace Talks
• GRP and MILF Peace Panels shall hold their talks in a venue to be previously by
the Parties.
• Attendance/Quorum
• Official members of each panel shall attend regularly.
• In case of permanent disability or for any reason, a substitute is allowed
provided there is prior notice to the other Party.
• A majority of each panel shall be present to have a quorum.
• Presiding Officer
• The two panel chairmen shall act as co-presiding officer.
• Permanent Secretariat
• To document proceedings.
• To prepare and submit agenda of meeting.
• To prepare highlights of consensus points/agreements
• To handle administrative requirements.
– Meeting Flow
• Invocation
• Opening Remarks
• Approval of Agenda for Meeting
• Adoption of Reports of Previous Meeting
• Discussion of Unfinished Agenda
• Discussion of Agenda Items
• Adoption of Consensus Points/Agreements
• Adoption of Proposed Agenda, Schedule and Venue of Next
Meeting
• Adoption of Joint Statement/Press Release
– Media Coverage
• Mutually agreed upon by the Parties
– Confidentiality
– Amendments
– Safety and Security Matters
– Effectively
• Usually after signing
First Round of
Formal Peace Talks
(February 15, 2000)

• Acknowledged all agreements entered into


by the parties
• Tasked the Technical Committees to
cluster the approved nine (9) talking points
(Already stated earlier)
Second Round of
Formal Peace Talks
(March 2, 2000)

• Adopted the nine (9) Agenda items


submitted by the MILF which was later
clustered to six (6) aggrupations.
Third Round of
Formal Peace Talks
(March 9, 2000)

• Adoption of the highlights of the Technical


Committee Meeting.
• Signing of the Agreement on Safety and
Security Guarantees.
Aide Memoiré
(April 27, 2000)
• Both Panels agreed that the GRP shall prepare a paper on the proposed
political package to be presented to the MILF within 72 hours from date of the
meeting. The MILF, on the other hand, shall be given enough time for
consultation and thereafter respond to the package.
• The Parties agreed to normalize the situation in Mindanao for the sake of the
people and the peace process.
• They also agreed that there is a need to pursue the ongoing peace process
between the GRP and MILF in order to achieve stability and development in
Mindanao.
• To normalize the situation along the Narciso Ramos Highway, both Chairmen
agreed to study the following proposals:
– PNP to takeover in ensuring security and law and order at the highway. (If
possible show a map of the highway and Camp Abubakar).
– For GRP and MILF units to remain in their current positions.

Note: Barely six hours after signing, AFP attacked Camp Abubakar from
almost all sides, a very clear example of GRP double talk and the use of
outright lies in deceiving the MILF..
ALL-OUT WAR OF ESTRADA
(April 27, 2000)
• All-out war was first declared by President in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte on March
16, 2000 after his grandson, 1st Lt. Don Alfonso Javier, was slain in battle against
MILF forces on March 15, 2000 in Inudaran, Kauswagan, Lanao Del Norte.
• About one million people were displaced.
• Hundreds of houses were burned by AFP troops and paramilitary forces.
• Billions worth of government and private properties were destroyed including power
lines, bridges, etc.
• At the height of the war, the government was spending P100 million a day in its
offensive in Mindanao.
• Two-third of the entire firepower of the AFP were deployed in Mindanao.
• Peace Talks collapsed completely on June 15, 2000 after the MILF disbanded its peace
panel and declared an all-out jihad against the government.
• On July 19, when AFP captured the lower portion of Camp Abubakar (the upper or
forested portion still effectively under MILF control), President Estrada personally and
together with his Cabinet came to Camp Abubakar to celebrate the “victory”.
– They raised the Philippine flag in a Muslim school.
– Roasted pigs and drank liquor, totally unmindful of the religious sensibilities of the Muslims.
GRP-MILF
PEACE TALKS

DIPLOMATIC STAGE
With Foreign 3rd Party Facilitation
(March 24, 2001 – Present)

• In February 2001, Estrada was ousted from powers by People Power EDSA II
and Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was sworn in as the new
president of the Philippines.
– Immediately reversed the all-out war policy of Estrada and started to
establish contact with the MILF for the possible resumption of the peace
talks.
– At first, the MILF was very reluctant and seriously doubted the sincerity of
the government. But after sometime and serious considerations, the MILF
replied affirmatively but with the following conditions:
• All past agreements must be respected and to be implemented.
• Talks must be held outside of the Philippines.
• To be facilitated by OIC or any member state.
• President Arroyo also contacted the former Malaysian Prime Minster Dr.
Mahathir Mohammad for Malaysia’s possible facilitation of the talks. To do
this, she paid an official visit to Kuala Lumpur, which so far was her first
foreign visit since she became president.
• The Malaysian Government, after consulting the MILF, facilitated the talks.
AGREEMENT ON THE GENERAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE
RESUMPTION OF PEACE TALKS BETWEEN THE GRP AND THE
MILF
(March 24, 2001)
• The parties agreed to resume the stalled peace talks
immediately after signing of this agreement and shall
continue until they shall have reached a negotiated
political settlement of the Bangsamoro Problem.
• Organize the Peace Panels
• MILF shall reciprocate to GRP’s SOMO
• Respect and implement past agreements
• Relief and rehabilitation of evacuees
• Commitment to negotiate with sincerity and mutual
trust, justice and freedom, and respect for the identity,
culture and aspirations of all peoples of Mindanao
• Both Parties expressed gratitude for the gracious
hospitality of the Malaysian Government.
Tripoli Agreement
(June 22, 2001)
• Security Aspect
• Rehabilitation Aspect
• Ancestral Domain Aspect
After the Agreement on Intent, this is the most important agreement signed by the Parties; it is
considered a mother agreement which all succeeding agenda or agreements are based.
FINDING NEW FORMULA
(the negotiation and peaceful resolution of the conflict must involve consultations with the
Bangsamoro people free of any imposition in order to provide chances of success and open
new formulas that permanently respond to the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people for
freedom)
What does “new formula” mean?
• It means, the framework of talks is no longer the shallow constitutional processes as in the
GRP-MNLF peace process but refers to International Humanitarian Laws and Human Rights
Laws, and also the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights.
• New formula may also mean the exclusion of autonomy as envisaged IN THE ARMM BUT FOR
SOME HIGHER FORM OF SELF-GOVERNANCE.
• It can also mean an invitation for the Parties to examine CURRENT TRENDS IN CONFLICT
RESOLUTIONS IN THE WORLD TODAY, as in South Sudan, Kosovo, Bougainville, Ireland, and
even Aceh.
• It is a process by which the Parties, after they diagnosed the Moro Problem thoroughly, will
assemble all the negotiated parts to form a new political entity of its kind.

Security Aspect
International Monitoring Team (IMT)
Note: Japan joined the IMT socio-economic monitors on July 23, 2006. Sweden has already
joined; Canada has also applied.
• Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH)
• Local Monitoring Team (LMT)
• Ad-hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG)
The Security Aspect of the Tripoli Agreement is basically about human security and ceasefire.

THE CCCH:
• Monitors and supervises the ceasefire.
• Conducts inquiry on alleged violation by either side.
• Visitations and inspections of conflict-affected areas (CAAs).

THE IMT:
• 60-man: 42 Malaysian, 10 Bruneians, and 7 Libyans, Japan, 1; has five team sites: TS-1 in
Cotabato City, TS-2 in Iligan City, TS-3 in Zamboanga City, TS-4 in Davao City, and TS-5 in
General Santos City. IMT GHQ is also situated in Cotabato City.
• On July 23, 2006, Japan joined the IMT in its socio-economic monitoring functions.
• IMT has practically reduced the fighting into zero-level since it arrived on October 10, 2004.

THE LMT:
• Serves as the principal ceasefire monitors at the local level.
• Composed of Representatives from LGUs, MILF, NGO-GRP, NGO-MILF, and Religious
Sectors.

THE AHJAG:
• “To interdict and isolate criminal syndicates and other similar criminals in or near MILF
communities or areas.
• MILF signed to show that it is not a terrorist organization but a truly revolutionary
organization with a clear and legitimate political agenda.
Rehabilitation Aspect
• Affirms the Parties’ observance of International Humanitarian Law and
respect for internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedom
for all persons in Mindanao.
• Cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of serious violations of
international humanitarian laws and human rights as well as violations of this
Agreement.

Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA)

(Development agency of the MILF tasked “to


determine, lead and manage rehabilitation and
development projects in conflict affected areas”).
Ancestral Domain Aspect
• What is ancestral domain or ancestral land?
“They are those held under claim of ownership, occupied or possessed, by themselves or through
their ancestors of the Bangsamoro people, communally or individually since time immemorial
continuously to the present, except when prevented by war, civil disturbances, force majeure, or other
forms of possible usurpations or displacement by force, deceit, stealth, as a consequence of the
government project or any other voluntary dealing entered into by the government and private
individuals, corporate entities o institutions.”

• Divided into four (4) Strands:


– Strand on Concept
– Strand on Territory
– Strand on Resources
– Strand on Governance

• All in all the Parties have signed 29 consensus points


Remaining agenda for the
GRP-MILF Peace Talks

• MOA on Ancestral Domain


• Finding a political settlement of the
Bangsamoro problem, which will be
in the form of comprehensive
compact.
SUMMARY OF THE PEACE
PROCESS
• Ten (10) years in the making: January 7, 1997 to Present (2007).

• GRP, MILF Signed 72 Documents:


– 45 documents in Mindanao w/o a 3rd Party Facilitator (January 7, 2000 to June
15, 2000)
4 Formal Talks
10 Informal Talks
31Technical Committee Meetings
– 27 documents signed outside of the Philippines w/ 3rd Party Facilitator, mainly
by Malaysia and only once by Libya (March 24, 2001 to July 2006)
4 Formal Talks
13 Exploratory Talks
1 Backchannel talks
1 Indirect Talks (Signing of IMT TOR on September 28, 2004).

• Thousands of armed confrontations, two major, scores of medium, and countless


minor .

• GRP chief peace negotiators: Lt. General Fortunato Abat, Major General Orlando
Soriano, Major Gen. Edgardo Batenga, Col. and Executive Secretary Eduardo
Ermita, Atty. Jesus Dureza, and Secretary Silvestre Afable, Jr.; MILF chief peace
negotiators: Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar, Vice Chairman Abdulazis Mimbantas,
Vice Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, and Mohagher Iqbal, MILF chief information
officer.
Present Status of the Peace Talks

• The 13th GRP-MILF Exploratory Talks, September


6-7, 2006
• Talks bogged down on the issue of territory and
constitutional processes
• GRP peace panel has no mandate
• GRP asked for more time to present new proposal
• September 30; October 31; November 15.
• On Nov. 9 the GRP has submitted a new
proposal with right to self-determination as the
main sweetener.
• War almost ensued
• December 1: Q&A Session
End of presentation