Posted by: JWP | 12/23/2009

No rush on peace talks says Zamboanga City mayor

On Renewed Peace Talks Consultations: We should not rush things-Celso

Na Mi Pueblo 2009-12-21 08:20

Mayor Celso Lobregat has underscored the need for the peace talks between the government and the secessionist group Moro Islamic Liberation Front to continue but stressed that consultations should not be done in a rush just to be able to finalize everything before the end of the term of the present administration.

Lobregat said this, as he maintained his protest to the supposed consultation conducted by the government panel in Zamboanga City December 14-15 intended for city and municipal mayors in the region, as a sequel to the previously conducted dialogue among Mindanao stakeholders.

“My position is that the peace talks should continue but because the present term of the president is ending, whatever agreements that are going to be made should be done in the next administration,” Lobregat said in a press conference the other day. “We should not rush and put a timetable because things have to be done properly.”

Lobregat said the supposed consultation, held at the Patio Palmeras and attended only by at least 8 of the over 60 municipal mayors and not one of the 5 city mayors in the region due to a very short notice, “is one example of things not being done properly”.

“How can you call a consultation when even a member of the panel does not know that there will be a consultation,” the chief executive said referring to Adel Antonino, government panel member representing the local government units in Mindanao. “It brings about more questions, what is happening, why are they doing this in such a manner, in such a rush, was this meeting intended really to be that way?”

Lobregat deliberately did not attend the supposed consultation spearheaded by the GRP panel chief Ambassador Rafael Seguis for various reasons: the very short notice sent not only to him but to all other four city mayors in the region; lack of coordination with panel member Antonino and the tapping of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society chairman, who was one of the respondent intervenor in the August 2008 petition against the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) before the High Tribunal, as head of the GRP Panel Secretariat.

“It is also very suspicious why a member of the panel itself was not informed of the consultation when he was the one contacting us saying that we will have a consultation in January,” Lobregat said again referring to Antonino. Issues as important as consultations on peace talks should be given ample time for preparation.

“By attending that meeting it would be legitimizing (the supposed consultation) and again that is not a consultation,” the mayor reiterated.

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