What happened to promised peace talks with rebels?
We are confused. According to the chief negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), his camp is unhappy about the current pace of the peace talks between his group and the government (“MILF unhappy with talks,” Front Page, 6/15/13). But back here in Manila, President Aquino’s spokespersons categorically claim that the President himself is satisfied with what is happening at the negotiating table.
Well, maybe we should not be confused. Maybe the spokespersons are being forthright because what Mr. Aquino actually wants is to stall the peace talks. Why? Probably because he is aware that the peace pact is nowhere near being signed. After all, as we all know, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro he trumpeted to the whole world last year is nothing but propaganda. The much-publicized signing of the framework agreement was, in reality, only a ploy of the Aquino administration to make the MILF believe that the President has something in store for them. Unfortunately for the MILF and most of our oblivious countrymen, the framework agreement is nothing but a general document with no clear provisions on how and why political and military power can be shared by the government and the MILF.
Worse, the issue between the Philippines and Malaysia over Sabah further dimmed the prospects for peace. Malaysia has been brokering the peace talks between the government and the MILF for years, only to be slapped in the face by the group of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, with the support of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The MNLF leadership must now be very amused at the thought that after all the fanfare that attended its signing, the overrated government-MILF framework agreement is going into the dustbin of futile exercises.
Here is one question we ask Secretary Teresita Deles, presidential adviser on the peace process: What happened to your bold projection that peace with Muslim and communist rebels will be achieved by the Aquino administration by July 2012?