Zamboanga Crisis PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Thursday, 19 September 2013 11:43
PLM statement on the Zamboanga Crisis
Philippine government’s attempt to terminate the peace review process with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has triggered the war situation in Zamboanga City, the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) found out yesterday.
Documents given to PLM by a senior MNLF source attest to Philippine government’s attempt to end the peace negotiations with the MNLF by requesting the termination of the ‘Tripartite Review Process’.
A letter dated March 21, 2013, written by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario to the Indonesian Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. R.M. Marty Natalegawa, stated that the government “reiterate again” its request for Indonesia, as Chair of the OIC-PCPS [OIC-Peace Committee for Southern Philippines], “to put the closure of the Tripartite Review Process as the agenda for the next Tripartite Meeting.” According to the letter, "all the issues attending the tripartite review process have already been resolved, and that it is now the right time to put an end to the review process …”.
The Del Rosario letter (sent in March 2013) was also a reiteration of a similar letter sent on January 30, 2013 to the Indonesian Foreign Minister.
The Tripartite Review Process involves the government of the Philippines, the MNLF and the OIC. The review process began in 2007 in Jeddah to deal with the MNLF concerns about the lack of full implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the government and the MNLF.
The current fighting between the MNLF forces loyal to founding chairman Nur Misuari and the Armed Forces of the Philippines – which has resulted in Zamboanga City being turned into a war zone – clearly demonstrates that the outstanding issues have by no means been resolved. It also raises serious questions about government claims that they have not attempted to close down the negotiations with the MNLF and exclude them from the peace process. The correspondence between Del Rosario and the Indonesian government indicates that the opposite was in fact the case.
To add insult to injury, the Explanatory Note attached to the letter claims that the issues raised by Nur Misuari “were already addressed.” And in a contradictory point further in the Notes, it states that the Framework Agreement signed with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on October 15, 2012, “will actually address the ‘unresolved issues’ that Misuari is insisting on.”
It seems that the government has seriously miscalculated its assessment of the strength of the MNLF, and in particular the influence of Nur Misuari amongst the MNLF fighters. This miscalculation has led to a series of blunders in its handling of the MNLF and its various factions in the peace process.
While the government is at pains to blame the recent fighting on the “Misuari faction” of the MNLF, we don’t think such crude “divide and rule” tactics will help achieve lasting peace in Mindanao. The MILF, for example, has now called on the government to accommodate the demands of Nur Misuari in the Framework Agreement and for a review of all previous agreements.
The government has bungled an opportunity for achieving a historic peace in Mindanao and is now having to mop up the disaster from an armed conflict, which has resulted in hundreds of casualties, destruction of homes and livelihoods and over 100,000 evacuees in the last few days.
Lastly, we reiterate the demands of the peace advocates and civil society groups for a Zamboanga citywide ceasefire now, and the inclusion and accommodation of the MNLF and Nur Misuari’s issues to the peace process in Mindanao. #

Contact person: Sonny Melencio, chairperson, Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), 09285080287.



Last Updated on Thursday, 19 September 2013 11:46
 

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