May 272013
Philippine government officials on Monday welcomed the plan of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to form a political party that will participate in the 2016 elections, saying it is “consistent” with the peace process.

In a text message, presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles said the MILF’s political plan “demonstrates its commitment to prepare itself for the challenge of democratic and inclusive governance” in the Bangsamoro region, which is set to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“It is consistent with the goals of any negotiated political settlement to transform the engaged armed party into an unarmed political and socio-economic force for continuing change and reform,” Deles said.

Last week, the MILF, the country’s largest secessionist group, announced that it is set to form its political party this year to participate in the 2016 national elections.

The announcement came months after the MILF and the Philippine government signed a framework peace agreement last October.

At a press briefing, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte welcomed the MILF’s “preparation” for its participation in the political process.

“As you all know, the road map towards the establishment of the Bangsamoro ends in 2016 and, understandably, the MILF needs to preparate for that,” she said.

Valte, however, said that she is not aware of any plan from the government to help the MILF transition from an armed group to a political party.

The peace panels of the Philippine government and the MILF are currently in the process of ironing out issues in the annexes of the peace pact, including those involving power-sharing, wealth-sharing and normalization arrangements. Andreo Calonzo/KBK, GMA News

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