Tuesday, 23 July 2013 13:43
Government of the Philippines (GPH) Panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer impressed on members of the media the true meaning of the signing of the Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing during an informal dinner Thursday night held at Sa Kanto Restaurant at The Podium in Ortigas Center.
“The people should see the signing as what it is, which is a breakthrough in the negotiations and a step closer to a lasting peace in Mindanao, not for any short-sighted goal” Coronel-Ferrer said, adding that the signing was a result of rigorous and earnest discussions that began at the Technical Working Group level in August last year.
In her official statement, Coronel-Ferrer said the signing signifies the true meaning of partnership between the GPH and the MILF, a partnership that is "not based on dependency and patronage but on the strength and capacities contributed by both for the benefit of the whole.”
“As a matter of fact,” said Coronel-Ferrer, “The entire GPH panel will embark on a series of consultations in Mindanao as a way to address the stakeholders’ concerns on the wealth sharing arrangements, as the panel always does every time the negotiations reach an agreement.”
The GPH panel, led by Coronel-Ferrer, has conducted more than a hundred consultations after the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro in October last year, and a few more after the signing of the first annex—the Annex on Transitional Arrangements and Modalities in February this year.
During the dinner with members of the press, Coronel-Ferrer was joined by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles, who engaged the media with “heart-stopping moments” during the latest round of the ongoing negotiations, which included back stories on the unexpected signing at the last hour when the GPH delegation should have been running to the airport to catch their flight, among others.
“It’s hard to look back when we are this close to a peace deal because both parties want to win the peace,” said Deles, reflecting on the latest round of negotiations, which is, by far, the toughest of all the rounds since the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) was signed in October last year.
Asked if the parties have set another deadline for reaching a peace deal, Deles said that the perceived delays should not be mistaken as roadblocks.
“It’s always a mutual agreement when we postpone the deadline,” Coronel-Ferrer echoed.
The recently signed annex is the second annex to be signed. The parties are now down to two more annexes--Power-sharing and Normalization.
Comprised of eight (8) pages, the Wealth-sharing Annex has twelve (12) sections, namely, taxation, other sources of revenue, fees and charges, grants and donations, fund transfers from Central Government, contracting of loans and overseas development assistance, natural resources, additional fiscal powers, auditing body, intergovernmental fiscal policy board, Bangsamoro development plan, and gender and development.
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