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Gov’t-MNLF team seek amendments to ARMM law

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 13:24:00 03/13/2009

MANILA, Philippines – The government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) will form a joint legal team that will propose amendments to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) law to pave the way for the full implementation the 1996 peace agreement between the two parties.

This was contained in a joint communiqué that was approved during the third day of a tripartite meeting of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), the MNLF, and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) in Manila on Friday.

MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari led the participants in the meeting chanting “God is great,” with their clenched fists raised in the air, as the joint communiqué was approved.

Under the agreement, the GRP and the MNLF have until March 20 to nominate representatives to the panel, and 30 days from March 20 for the body to finish its work.

The report of the panel will be submitted to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, for referral to Congress, according to the agreement.

Misuari said the agreement was the “final straw that would break the back of the cycle of war.”

“Let us break the cycle of war, the cycle of repression,” Misuari said.

But the MNLF founder acknowledged that the agreement would be “useless unless there will be commensurate implementation.”

“We hope there will be no more monkey wrench this time,” he said.

Deputy Presidential Peace Adviser Nabil Tan clarified that the review was meant to look for ways to implement the 1996 peace agreement, not to renegotiate it.

The recommendations of the legal panel will be for amendments to Republic Act 9054 or the Organic Act for the Expanded ARMM, Tan said.

The amendments cover sharia courts, the educational system, regional security force, and economic and financial system, he said.

“We achieved another milestone in our journey for peace and development in Mindanao,” he said.

The joint committee also called for the setting up of a peace and development fund in Mindanao to be supported by the OIC.

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Written by joelguinto

FriUTC2009-03-13T08:14:07+00:00UTC03bUTCFri, 13 Mar 2009 08:14:07 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am03

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