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tnalak-getty2Tnalak-gettyKORONADAL, PHILIPPINES – JULY 18: Filipino natives wait for their turn to perform at the 2009 T�nalak Festival, showcasing South Cotabato Province tribal cultures on July 18, 2009 in the southern city of Koronadal, Philippines. T�nalak is an indigenous term for colorful cloth woven by women of the T�boli tribe that has brought recognition to the province in the national and international scene. US-trained Filipino security forces were placed on heightened alert over fears the country’s homegrown Islamists could try to emulate the Jakarta hotel bombings. Early this month, twelve people died and more than 100 others were wounded in separate attacks carried out by local militants in the region. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images)

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Inquirer
Last updated 01:05am (Mla time) 10/25/2007

 

COTABATO CITY—Libya has offered to host peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Libyan President Moammar Gadaffi was influential in the decision of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) to sign a peace agreement with the government in 1996.

Ambassador’s message

Eid Kabalu, MILF civil-military relations chief, said Libya’s desire to host the peace negotiations was relayed to them by former Libyan Ambassador to the Philippines Salem Adem.

Kabalu said Adem also told MILF leaders during a meeting yesterday that Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, said to be his father’s successor, wanted to meet Mindanao leaders in a bid to consolidate efforts that would lead to a peace agreement.

“He wanted the meeting through the facilitation of the MILF to happen before the year ends. Of course, it will be closely coordinated with the government,” Kabalu told the Inquirer.

Impatience

The government is also becoming impatient at the pace the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is moving, a Malacañang official said yesterday.

Earlier, the MILF said it was becoming edgy because of what it sees as government-instigated delays hounding the resumption of the peace talks.

“If the MILF and other stakeholders were impatient, the government is more so because the problem on peace and order is basic to development,” Secretary Jesus Dureza, presidential adviser on the peace process, said in an interview with radio station dxMS here.

Best efforts

But Dureza said the government was trying its best to forge a final peace deal with the rebels and that the only way to achieve this is through negotiations.

He also said that the help of every Filipino is needed so that peace would eventually be achieved on the island.

“The peace negotiations are everybody’s concern, your concern, my concern, our concern because we are the stakeholders,” Dureza said.

Government and MILF negotiators have resumed their executive meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, in a bid to break the deadlock in the negotiations.

KL meeting

The deadlock was caused by disagreements over the issue on territory, with the MILF insisting on the inclusion of at least 1000 villages in the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) without preconditions.

The government is steadfast on its position that only about 600 villages could be provisionally included in the discussion for territory.

The government also said that the final composition of the territory would depend on the outcome of a plebiscite to be called for that purpose.

“I’m optimistic they will be able to hurdle some of the contentious issues so we can resume formal talks,” Dureza said.

Deal with MNLF

The 1996 peace agreement with the MNLF led to the forming of the Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA) and the assumption into office by MNLF chair Nur Misuari as governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Edwin Fernandez, Charlie Señase and Jeoffrey Maitem, Inquirer Mindanao


Copyright 2007 Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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By Jeoffrey Maitem, Edwin Fernandez
Mindanao Bureau
Last updated 10:56pm (Mla time) 10/25/2007

 

COTABATO CITY—Government and Moro rebel negotiators managed to break the impasse in the peace negotiations following two days of informal talks in Kuala Lumpur, government and rebel sources said yesterday.

Eid Kabalu, civil-military affairs chief of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), said the panels had managed to hurdle the contentious issue on territory.

No details

Retired Gen. Rodolfo Garcia headed the government panel that met with the MILF team, led by Mohagher Iqbal since Tuesday.

But Kabalu declined to give details on how the problem was solved.

“Basically, that’s the result of their meeting. As to how they were able to break it, we will know when both parties formally issue their joint statement,” Kabalu said.

With the deadlock broken, formal negotiations may resume next month, he said.

“It was a breakthrough,” Jesus Dureza, presidential adviser on the peace process, also said when asked about the result of the Kuala Lumpur talks.

New entity

Dureza said both sides agreed on some models for the geographical composition of the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE). But he declined to give specifics, saying these would be tackled during the resumption of formal talks next month.

The MILF has demanded the inclusion of at least 1,000 villages in the BJE without any precondition, but the government said only about 600 villages could be provisionally included in the Moro territory.


Copyright 2007 Mindanao Bureau. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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By Edwin Fernandez, Jeoffrey Maitem
Mindanao Bureau
Last updated 11:30pm (Mla time) 10/09/2007

 

BULDON, SHARIFF KABUNSUAN–Nine-year-old Jamael Akmad’s life always began at 6 a.m. and ended at 6 p.m.

During the day, she spends most of her time in school. At home at night, she sleeps early and waits for the next sunrise.

“But now, life has changed,” she said.

Jamael’s village of Kulimpang was one of the recipients of a solar energy program funded by the US government and Mirant Philippines.

“We can now study at night, we can now see the world through our television,” Jamael, a Grade 4 pupil at the Kulimpang Elementary School, said.

The electrification project, which has been ongoing in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, provided “light” and “new life” to thousands of children, like Akmad, in the region’s poorest and most remote communities.

Sun’s benefits

For example, the solar energy harnessed by the Alliance for Mindanao Off-Grid Renewable Energy (Amore) program also benefited fisherman Ajijul Sampang of Tawi-Tawi.

“I had four Petromax (kerosene lamps) before but I sold three of them. In our village, nobody needs them now except those fishing at night. We already have electricity,” Sampang said.

Bukari Gumaga, 47, an imam of Kulimpang, thanked Allah when the fluorescent lamp installed in his house started to flicker into life on Monday.

“At the mosque in our village, we were previously dependent on kerosene lamp. But now we have electricity. We are thankful. My seven kids can also study longer even at night,” Gumaga told the Inquirer.

Savings

Baidido Macatambog, 36, a mother of four, said the solar-energy project also meant savings for her and her family.

“We can now save the money we spend for kerosene daily. We are planning to buy a television so that we will know what’s happening in our country and we can watch leading soap opera shows,” Macatambog said.

To mark the “energization” of some 12,000 household in the ARMM, Amore beneficiaries participated in the region-wide switch-on ceremony on Monday evening.

The event coincided with the observance of Lailatul Qadr or the “Night of Power” in Islam. Lailatur Qadr is celebrated during one of the odd nights in the last 10 days of Ramadan.

Muslims believe that it was during Laila-tul Qadr when the first Divine revelation came to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).


Copyright 2007 Mindanao Bureau. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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By Edwin Fernandez, Jeoffrey Maitem
Mindanao Bureau
Last updated 11:30pm (Mla time) 10/09/2007

 

BULDON, SHARIFF KABUNSUAN–Nine-year-old Jamael Akmad’s life always began at 6 a.m. and ended at 6 p.m.

During the day, she spends most of her time in school. At home at night, she sleeps early and waits for the next sunrise.

“But now, life has changed,” she said.

Jamael’s village of Kulimpang was one of the recipients of a solar energy program funded by the US government and Mirant Philippines.

“We can now study at night, we can now see the world through our television,” Jamael, a Grade 4 pupil at the Kulimpang Elementary School, said.

The electrification project, which has been ongoing in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, provided “light” and “new life” to thousands of children, like Akmad, in the region’s poorest and most remote communities.

Sun’s benefits

For example, the solar energy harnessed by the Alliance for Mindanao Off-Grid Renewable Energy (Amore) program also benefited fisherman Ajijul Sampang of Tawi-Tawi.

“I had four Petromax (kerosene lamps) before but I sold three of them. In our village, nobody needs them now except those fishing at night. We already have electricity,” Sampang said.

Bukari Gumaga, 47, an imam of Kulimpang, thanked Allah when the fluorescent lamp installed in his house started to flicker into life on Monday.

“At the mosque in our village, we were previously dependent on kerosene lamp. But now we have electricity. We are thankful. My seven kids can also study longer even at night,” Gumaga told the Inquirer.

Savings

Baidido Macatambog, 36, a mother of four, said the solar-energy project also meant savings for her and her family.

“We can now save the money we spend for kerosene daily. We are planning to buy a television so that we will know what’s happening in our country and we can watch leading soap opera shows,” Macatambog said.

To mark the “energization” of some 12,000 household in the ARMM, Amore beneficiaries participated in the region-wide switch-on ceremony on Monday evening.

The event coincided with the observance of Lailatul Qadr or the “Night of Power” in Islam. Lailatur Qadr is celebrated during one of the odd nights in the last 10 days of Ramadan.

Muslims believe that it was during Laila-tul Qadr when the first Divine revelation came to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).


Copyright 2007 Mindanao Bureau. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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