President Rodrigo Duterte’s appointment of former AFP Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez quickly spelled boon on government’s effort to draw the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) back to the peace table.
Two days after Mr. Duterte’s announcement of Galvez as his new peace adviser, the MNLF also bared it will regroup through a general assembly of most Tausug civic, youth and political leaders to tackle their stand on the proposed Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
This despite the MNLF’s refusal to accept the BOL as it has a standing agreement with government for the Automous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) forged between its founding chairman Nur Misuari and former President Fidel Ramos.
The MNLF assembly will also tackle issues concerning the proposed shift from unitary to a federal form of government.
Emmanuel Fontanilla, MNLF spokesman, told Daily Tribune a 7 July schedule is being looked at to get the sentiment of Tausug Muslims in Sulu, Basilan and Tawi Tawi.
“The MNLF and the people of Sulu fully support Federalism but (are) against BOL,” he said.
Fontanilla also bared establishing contact with Galvez for the possible resumption of the peace talks aimed at the full implementation of the 1996 peace agreement that was abandoned by former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
Earlier, President Duterte had announced willingness to enter a new round of talks with Misuari.
“With the appointment of retired General Carlito Galvez as the new peace adviser, we are optimistic that MNLF and government panel will soon return to the negotiating table,”’ Fontanilla said.
Fontanilla added the resumption of the peace talks with government will be confined to three still unresolved issues for the final implementation of the accord which was brokered by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The government and MNLF panel were in the final stage of a peace deal when Aquino abandoned the talks.
Among the remaining issues hanging are about governance, wealth sharing and territory.
Fontanilla earlier had said although they oppose the BOL, they will just counter it through a no vote in the referendum.
Government had entered into a peace deal with the Moro International Liberation Front (MILF) an offshoot of the MNLF in the 1990s, that led to the crafting of the BOL.