MANILA - The appointment of Nur Misuari as Philippines' special economic envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) last Friday was an "earthquake" in peace negotiations with government, an analyst said Monday.
The Philippines finally attained representation at the OIC, the world's second largest inter-governmental body after the United Nations, through Misuari and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), according to Fr. Eliseo Mercado Jr., senior policy adviser at the Institute For Autonomy and Governance.
"Siguro this is another earthquake, I don't know lang yung magnitude, sa peace process," Mercado told ANC's Early Edition.
"Dati nang ambition ng Philippine government maging member ng OIC. Siguro matalino itong boys ni PRRD (President Rodrigo Duterte) na one way of entering the OIC is through MNLF na meron nang permanent observer status. That’s a big event for the Philippine government."
(The Philippine government has longed to be a member of the OIC. Maybe the President's men are bright that they thought one way of entering the OIC is through the MNLF which already has a permanent observer status.)
Misuari is a former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the entity superseded by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the result of a peace pact between government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a splinter group of the MNLF.
Mercado, meantime, said he believes the MNLF and MILF could resolve their differences without interference from government.
"Once (Duterte) gives them the recognition, the wherewithal, later on, they will be able to resolve that. If they are not able to resolve that this generation, next generation will be able to resolve that. To me that is internal affairs for the Bangsamoro," he said.
Mercado said the remaining unfulfilled items in government's 1996 agreement with the MNLF -- the Bangsamoro development assistance fund and the tripartite implementation monitoring committee -- may not be implemented within Duterte's term.
"Ang importante naman ay merong commitment, yung realization will come in time kahit medyo kabagalan. Meron namang immediate assistance na pwede namang magawa," he said.
(What's important is there's commitment, realization will come in time no matter how slow. There's immediate assistance that can be availed.)