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Philippines: PLM welcomes roadmap for peace in Mindanao

Philippines government peace negotiator Marvic Leonen (bottom right) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal (bottom left) sign the framework agreement for peace at the Malacanang Palace in Manila on October 15, 2012.

By the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses)

October 15, 2012 -- Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses), a national political party of the marginalised sectors in The Philippines, welcomes the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement as a roadmap for peace in Mindanao. [The agreement was signed by the Philippines government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on October 15, 2012.] The agreement is also the first step to end the centuries-old oppression of the Moro people in Mindanao.

Sonny Melencio, chairperson of the PLM, said, “The signing of the agreement is just the first step towards peace. But to ensure that the fighting in Mindanao will really come to an end, the government has to ensure that the agreement is implemented at every step, and that democracy, based on people’s participation, is enhanced in the Bangsamoro government that will replace the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“We expect the agreement to attract resistance at every step, especially those coming from the rightist forces in government, and from the trapos [traditional elite politicians] who continuously oppose the right to self-determination of the Moro people.”

Melencio identified the possible contention in the formation of the Transitory Commission which will draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Other contentious issues involve the expansion of the present geographical area of ARMM to include more municipalities, barangays and cities in Mindanao. There is also a contention on adding new territories through a resolution of local government unit or a petition by at least 10% of qualified voters in a respective area.

“The main concern of the PLM, however, is to ensure that the Bangsamoro agreement will also enhance the rights and representation of the poor and marginalised sections of the Moro people. In this regard, we are supporting the call for a ministerial form of Bangsamoro government that will have representation based on parties and not on personalities.

“This is to ensure that the ushering of peace in Mindanao, and the economic construction that will commence, will redound to the benefit of the many and not just a few clans and corporations, especially foreign ones”, Melencio added.

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