Palace: MNLF won't be marginalized

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 10 2012 04:37 PM | Updated as of Oct 11 2012 06:51 AM

MANILA - Malacañang reiterated that the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was consulted on the crafting of the Framework Agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
"MNLF was consulted directly and through Indonesia, the facilitator. We have said/sent the message that we intend the presence of making the new law inclusive; that they will have representation in the Transition Commission, an intent that we have communicated to MILF as well," Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Ging Deles said in a text message read by Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda. 
"The OIC [Organization of the Islamic Conference] has already convened MNLF and MILF leaders to push for unity and coordination. Our policy from the start has been to push for convergence between the two peace tables. The OIC Peace Commission for Southern Philippines (PCSP) supports this. Significant elements of MNLF have welcomed this development. With the ARMM government, we are working with MNLF communities which have clearly expressed their support for the peace process and have called for their leaders to unite."
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the MILF and the MNLF also have a "solidarity agreement."
"What we were informed by Chairman Marvic Leonen was that the MILF and the MNLF have a solidarity agreement and they have also been consulted. They will also have a representation in the development of the Basic Law," Lacierda told reporters.
"It just goes to show that the MNLF is not going to be marginalized in this. MNLF is also a stakeholder for the peace in Mindanao and therefore that was done. MILF has a solidarity agreement. In what form? Maybe they can explain further. But, as far as we know, the MNLF will also have an involvement in the peace in Mindanao," he added.
Signing on Oct. 15
MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad is expected to witness the signing of the Framework Agreement at the Palace.
Lacierda said this will be Murad's first time to set foot in Malacañang.
"The negotiating panel of the MILF led by chief negotiator (Mohagher) Iqbal will also be here together with some other members of the MILF contingent," he said.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will also be present to witness the signing.
"How good and pleasant it is for brothers, Christians, Muslims, and lumads to dwell together in peace. So that's where we are right now. We have established the foundations of the house," Lacierda said.
"The Framework Agreement will be in place, will be signed, they have agreed on it. And so by 15th October, the Framework Agreement will be signed. Subsequent to that will be the discussions on the annexes."