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PIA Press Release

RP, MILF peace panels come close to agreement on ancestral domain issue

Manila (17 July) -- The Government of the Republic of the Philippines-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (GRP-MILF) peace panels currently holding talks in Kuala Lumpur is close to agreeing on the contentious issues that could be the last obstacle leading to the holding of the formal peace talks that would provide a political settlement to the decades-old problem in Mindanao.

In his weekly media briefing yesterday afternoon in Malacanang, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said he is in constant contact with GRP panel chair retired general Rodolfo Garcia who brought some good news.

"The latest I have is they are close to arriving at a memorandum of agreement leading to the finalization of the agreement on the ancestral domain," Ermita said.

The peace talks hit a snag last December 15 particularly when the MILF and the government negotiating panel failed to reach an agreement on the ancestral domain issue.

Ermita said the two panels are now exchanging proposals to resolve the ancestral domain and the inclusion/deletion of the word "freedom" in their preliminary agreement.

"So far, they have seem to overcome the hump and within the day there could be some resolution on some specific subject matter," Ermita said.

Ermita said the GRP panel proposed to drop the word "freedom" from the memorandum of agreement and exchange it with "permanently respond to the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people."

"We hope they will accept our position," Ermita said.

The government and peace advocates have been calling for the resumption of peace talks to put an end to the decades old conflict and free residents from the bondage of hardship and poverty. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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