MILF: Gov't too rigid on wealth sharing

By Lore Mae Andong, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao

Posted at Jul 12 2013 06:23 PM | Updated as of Jul 13 2013 02:23 AM

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) expressed dismay over the result of the 38th round of exploratory talks that ended Thursday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where annexes on wealth sharing were discussed with the Government of the Philippines (GPH).

In a phone interview, MILF First Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar said the government wants to change the sharing on energy source.

The government and the MILF had organized technical working groups after the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro was signed last year to focus on the annexes on wealth and power sharing, and normalization that will complete the Comprehensive Compact Agreement.

Jaafar said the TWGs met several times already in Kuala Lumpur and had generally agreed on the 75 % and 25% sharing favoring the Bangsamoro Government. However, the Philippine government wants to change the sharing when it comes to the energy source.

"But this time gusto ng government ng Pilipinas na baguhin ang sharing sa energy source. Gusto ng government mas maliit ang mapunta sa Bangsamoro Government, mas malaki ang sa gobyerno ng Pilipinas, eh hindi kami pumapayag dun," Jaafar said.

The MILF sees the recent ended talks as a failed meeting as both did not come to an agreement on the annexes of wealth sharing.

"Bigo ang MILF dahil ang posisyon ng GPH kaugnay sa pinag-usapang isyu ay very rigid and non-compromising," Jaafar said.

The official said the current impasse in the peace talks could continue if the government remains inflexible and non-compromising. He said the MILF remains open and sincere to continue with the discussion on wealth sharing,

"Pwedeng magka-ganun pero open kami sa bagay na ito and continue the discussion sa bagay na ito. Pwedeng mag-schedule muli kung sakaling walang marating ngayon," Jaafar said.

The government and the MILF extended their peace talks in Malaysia until Friday.

In a phone interview with chief negotiator Miriam Colonel-Ferrer Friday morning, she said they are still in Kuala Lumpur to continue to discuss the issues where solutions still remain to be vague.

She also pointed out that taxation is an important issue in the discussions.