Palace refutes MILF claim of "done deal"
Manila (7 August) -- The memorandum of agreement (MOA) on ancestral domain between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is not a done deal, contrary to the report attributed to the MILF, Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said.
"We are not yet in the stage of a final, compact or a comprehensive peace agreement," Dureza said at a press briefing in Malacanang.
The signing of the MOA on ancestral domain, which was set for Tuesday (Aug. 5) in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur did not push through after the Supreme Court (SC) issued a temporary restraining order (TRO).
Dureza explained even if the MOA is eventually signed by the two parties, the document would still need an enabling law from Congress before a plebiscite could be held in the areas covered by the proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE).
He said that through the plebiscite, residents of the areas comprising the JDE would be free to decide whether or not they want to be included in the JDE area.
"Only then can we study and go into the final compact (peace agreement). So we are not tying down people here. In fact, the whole process allows an opportunity for people to decide for themselves whether they want to be in or out" of the JDE, Dureza said.
The Palace official pointed out that the MOA on ancestral domain leading to the creation of the BJE would address the aspirations of generations of the Bangsamoro people for a lasting peace in Mindanao.
The government first inked a peace pact with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1996.
Dureza said that were it not for the continuing violent convulsions, Mindanao would be, by now, a highly developed region.
Mindanao has been a recipient of massive development funds, including foreign grants. (PIA-MMIO) [top]