MOA on Ancestral Domain signing on August 5; plebiscite in August 2009

Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews
Tuesday, 29 July 2008 08:09
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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/29 August) – The Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will sign the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain on August 5 in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

The MOA was initialed Sunday night, two nights after the talks ended in an impasse.

MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal and senior member Michael Mastura on Friday night walked out of the executive session with their government counterparts following a government proposal to reopen an issue that had already been previously agreed upon.

Government peace panel chair Rodolfo Garcia. accompanied by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Hermogenes Esperon, returned to Kuala Lumpur on Sunday to “restart” talks, as Esperon put it, and by 8:20 that evening, had initialed the MOA that would be signed formally next week, in the presence of the Foreign Affairs secretaries of the Philippines and Malaysia,

The government last Friday wanted the conduct of plebiscite in the 712 predominantly Moro villages that both parties had identified to be contiguous to the member-provinces in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), be held after the comprehensive compact has been signed, not six months after the signing of the MOA on ancestral domain as agreed upon.

The final version agreed upon on Sunday was that the plebiscite would be held a year after the signing of the MOA on ancestral domain. That would be August 2009.

Both parties also agreed to complete in 15 months the negotiations on the comprehensive compact – the consolidation of all agreements on the three agenda items of rehabilitation and development; security; and ancestral domain and the political settlement that will be negotiated after the MOA signing. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

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