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‘MILF deal road to hell’

Mindanao solon warns govt of ‘blazing inferno’ should it ignore MNLF Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat on Wednesday warned Malacanang against treating the peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as an “appeasement” rather than a peace deal because this could turn Mindanao into a “blazing inferno.” In a privilege speech, Lobregat urged the Palace to include Misuari’s MNLF in the peace accord to attain complete peace and prevent a “conflagration of the entire Mindanao.” Lobregat said Misuari’s mere presence in Zamboanga has caused anxiety among the people. “Last Thursday, July 25, 2013, the city was on red alert, there were checkpoints of the Philippine National Police and Task Force Zamboanga around the city, especially in Barangay San Roque, where Misuari has his house. Disturbing text messages were being passed around and people were either gravely concerned, alarmed or in panic,” Lobregat said. As this developed, the MNLF leadership said they were starting to lose patience over what they claimed as the “bullying” being done by Malacanang. “They (government) are bullying us.  They are doing what they want to do because they have all the power to do it,” said MNLF Peace Panel Chair, Rev. Adsalom Cerveza. Cerveza made the statement after the Palace denied that it had abrogated the 1996 final peace agreement with the MNLF, and explained that what it sought was merely the termination of the tripartite review mechanism of the peace accord. The MNLF officials said the national government “deceived” the MNLF when it notified the OIC Jakarta Committee of 12 that brokered the 1976 final peace agreement that it had fully complied with all the terms and conditions set forth in the peace accord. “It is the highest deception,” he added. The MNLF also took issue on the provisions in the wealth sharing of an   80/20 share favoring the MNLF in the 1996 accord, which he said was altered to give the government  full control. The MNLF had threatened to declare independence of Mindanao, with Misuari directing his commanders to consolidate their forces. Cerveza said the government’s action has dimmed the prospect of peace in the region, leaving them with no option but to go to war. “As the option of peace is almost exhausted, the MNLF will protect itself from dying to its natural death,” Cerveza said. He said the 1996 peace pact failed to take its course because of the government’s insincerity towards attaining lasting peace in Mindanao.  He also accused the Palace of employing a divide and rule tactic that would incite war among the Bangsamoro people. “By negotiating with the MILF, they have created a monster that would not go away.  The end-result of that agreement would be war, not by the MNLF against the government, but among the people in Mindanao. Lobregat echoed Cerveza’s sentiments, saying that Misuari has threatened to declare independence since the government’s peace pact with the MILF to give way to a Framework Agreement for Bangsamoro (FAB) of the MILF would mean the end of the GRP-MNLF 1996 Final Peace Accord. “Misuari said the OIC-Secretary General has furnished his office with the copy of the explanatory note submitted by Malacanang dated March 31, 2013 requesting the OIC to put a closure to the tripartite review process on the final implementation of the 1996 peace accord,” Lobregat said. “Misuari warned that pursuing the closure of the MNLF peace accord will give them the option to declare independence of the Bangsamoro homeland,” he said. Exactly 12 years ago, Lobregat said he also delivered a privilege speech warning the government against entering into an accord with MILF without consulting other stakeholders. “Some say that this agreement of peace has brought about the temporary cessation of armed hostilities. A sort of putting out of sporadic bush fires in Central Mindanao amidst the many problems our government is facing. But this same agreement of peace may be the very instrument that will bring about the conflagration of the entire Mindanao, a blazing inferno with international repercussions affecting the Republic,” said Lobregat, reading verbatim the same warning that he had issued 12 years ago. Last Thursday, Lobregat said Misuari disturbed the normalcy and tranquility of Zamboanga City by conducting his activities there and threatening to declare independence should the government pursue the closure to the tripartite review process. “The government is proposing the closure of the peace process and with the closure of the peace process, that means the Philippine government will do away with the series of peace treaty agreements and our peace accord that we signed,” Lobregat quoted Misuari as saying. Lobregat urged the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace Process and the government negotiating panel to address the issues raised by Misuari concerning the tripartite review process and the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro with the MILF. “To have an honorable, just and lasting peace in Mindanao, we cannot simply have another peace agreement this time with the MILF without the inclusion and conformity of other stakeholders of Mindanao including Misuari’s MILF,” Lobregat said. With Francisco Tuyay
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