Framework agreement hailed

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The Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID) lauds the historic framework agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The agreement is the closest we have come so far to initiating lasting peace and development in Mindanao, after more than three decades of armed conflict and 15 years of on-and-off negotiations.

We agree that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is a failed experiment. The challenge now is in the transition to the new political entity, the Bangsamoro: that it be well managed, that the structures to be set up start on the right footing, and that funds for development be professionally used, with transparency and accountability.

Forging the accord was daunting but it was accomplished with trust, sincerity and openness on both sides to search for loftier common ground while respecting each other’s differences. But the greater challenge is the transition period. It would be make or break for Muslim Mindanao. The MILF and all stakeholders of the Bangsamoro must be able to quickly maneuver to the new peace and development formation, or risk permanent failure on top of the flawed ARMM experiment.

We are encouraged by President Aquino’s statement that the formulation of the details of the final peace agreement will involve all stakeholders. The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) is a major stakeholder and is part of the continuing peace process. We hope that the MNLF will be effectively engaged.

The framework agreement, although not radical, will lead to an enhanced ARMM, and should establish the firm foundation for peace and development. As a think tank and as a resource center on concerns of the Bangsamoro, the PCID is committed to contribute to the shaping of a Bangsamoro entity that is fully functional, accountable, transparent and inclusive.

—AMINA RASUL, president,

Philippine Center for

Islam and Democracy

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