GE2015: FULL COVERAGE

Gov’t hopes to iron out 'crucial' issues with MILF in new round of peace talks

The Philippine government hopes to iron out "crucial" issues with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in a new round of peace talks with the secessionist group. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, the government’s chief negotiator, said issues such as power-sharing, wealth-sharing, normalization and transitional arrangements will be tackled in the 35th round of formal exploratory talks in Malaysia this week. These issues will be included in the annexes that will complement the framework peace agreement, which the Philippine government and the MILF signed last October. "Much work is still needed to find a middle ground on certain issues," Coronel-Ferrer said in a statement Sunday. The last round of peace talks between the two camps ended in a "technical impasse" after no formal agreements were reached on the contentious issues in the annexes of the peace agreement. On Wednesday, the MILF expressed its intention to insist on a lead role in the body that will facilitate the transition from the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to the Bangsamoro region. The Philippine government wants the "Bangsamoro" to lead the transition. Coronel-Ferrer likewise said that both camps will bring technical experts to the talks to provide advice related to issues on natural resources and transportation. "With conviction, goodwill and earnest partnership with the MILF, we can make this happen very soon," she said. — BM, GMA News

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