Thursday, February 23, 2012

Iqbal denies Aquino nods on MILF autonomy


PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III never agreed to a Muslim autonomy that was reportedly proposed by the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a rebel official said on Wednesday.
MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal denied a news report that the Chief Executive already gave his nod on the supposed parliamentary form of government similar to that of Malaysia, which the Muslim rebels reportedly proposed in the peace talks.
"That's spinning (of the story)...who am I to put words on the mouth of the President," Iqbal said.
Oman Tribune quoted Iqbal as saying that Aquino approved such a proposal. But Iqbal said that he was never interviewed by the Oman Tribune.
He said that if there will be any agreement, the statement would come from the MILF panel or from its counterpart led by Marvic Leonen, and not from Aquino.
Iqbal said the MILF's proposal for a "substate" to address the decades-old conflict in southern Philippines remains.
He said that in the formal talks in Malaysia last week, both the MILF and the government peace panels agreed to further discuss on substantive issues, such as the power-sharing, wealth-sharing, and interim mechanism, in their next round of negotiation in March.
The government has been offering a "genuine autonomy" to the MILF in a quest for a just and lasting peace in Mindanao.
Leonen earlier said the administration agrees that there is a need for genuine autonomy, which the current Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao has not delivered.
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SDR/Sunnex
Thursday, February 23, 2012
SunStar.Com.Ph

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