The Moro Islamic Liberation Front said Manila has agreed on the creation of a Muslim sub-state in Mindanao, which it has been demanding for a long time.
The MILF has previously said it would not sign a peace deal unless the Aquino government agrees to its demand for a Muslim sub-state in Mindanao.
Marvic Leonen, the chief government peace negotiator, said both panels signed a document containing decision points on principles with the MILF.
We signed the document containing the decision points on principles with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. This marks a significant and concrete step forward by both Parties in their discussions of substantive issues in these negotiations, he said.
He said included in the agreement is the creation of a new autonomous political entity that would replace the current Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao which is composed of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao and Maguindanao.
The autonomous political entity envisioned is a secular political unit, existing within the Republic of the Philippines, located within its territory and subject to its sovereignty as a State, Leonen said.
Maulana Alonto, a member of the MILF peace panel, said the document is vital to the success of the negotiation for a new political entity in the form of a Moro sub-state that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
This new sub-state political entity requires transitional or interim mechanisms that would ensure the success of the ministerial form of Bangsamoro government to be established, he said in a statement posted on the MILF website which is accessible to this URL: http:// luwaran.net.
The MILF said the signing of the agreement broke what it called was a stalemate in the almost two years of negotiations with the Aquino government.
The breakthrough, it said, allowed the peace panels to proceed to the discussions on power sharing, wealth sharing, and territory among others as important elements of the sub-state proposal of the MILF.
Negotiations ended Tuesday in Malaysia with both sides agreeing to meet again next month to continue the talks, according to Mohagher Iqbal, the MILF chief peace negotiator.
We have signed the 10 Decision Points Agreement, however, after signing the agreement on Tuesday, they (government peace panel) decided to adjourn and meet (again) in May. They did not discuss power sharing and wealth sharing and reserved these topics for the next session, Iqbal told Mindanao Examiner.
In February, the Oman Tribune quoted Iqbal as saying that President Benigno Aquino agreed to a Muslim sub-state proposed by the MILF. The proposal calls for the direct election by the people of the leaders of the autonomous region to be headed by a chief minister similar to the parliamentary government in the federal states of Malaysia, according to Iqbal.
No less than His Excellency President Benigno Aquino 3rd agreed to the MILF proposal, Oman quoted Iqbal as saying, adding the proposed government is to replace the ARMM.
Please write: COMMENT in this box to verify that you are human