MILF official optimistic on peace pact

By Lore Mae Andong, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao

Posted at Sep 07 2012 01:11 AM | Updated as of Sep 07 2012 09:11 AM

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines – The 31st round of exploratory talks between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) began Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

MILF 1st Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar said the talks will still focus on issues such as wealth- and power-sharing.

He noted, however, that more issues have been resolved.

"Maraming issues ngayon na mayroong meeting of the mind ang GPH at MILF peace panel, issues na nagkakasundo ang dalawang panig. Kakaunti na lang yung issues na pinag-uusapan this year," Jaafar said.

The official is also optimistic that talks will end soon and a peace pact will be approved before the year ends.

"Sa nakikita ko it’s possible, ang iba nagsasabi September, or October, November, basta before 2012 ends," Jaafar said.

The peace talks will end either by Friday or Saturday.

Meantime, the official also sees a conflict if the government will sign a separate agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front.

In an interview earlier with MNLF's legal counsel, Atty. Randolph Parcasio, he said whatever agreement is signed between the government and MILF will not affect the tripartite review between the MNLF, but only if the government will fully implement the Final Peace Agreement of 1996.

Jaafar said there could be confusion on what agreement will be implemented.

"Kung may agreement sa FPA at ‘yung Comprehensive Compact Agreement, which would be implemented? HIndi pwedeng dalawang agreement ang iimplement sa iisang lugar. Mahirap ‘yan, that’s impossible," Jaafar said.

However, the MILF is ready to talk with the MNLF on matters involving the peace tracks faced by two organizations.