Updates Per Peace Table

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Gov't 'comfortable' with conclusion of 28th formal talks with MILF -- Leonen

Kuala Lumpur, May 30 - Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel chair Marvic Leonen said that he is "comfortable" with how this month's round of talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) ended.

The three-day 28th formal exploratory talks between the GPH and the MILF officially concluded today with both sides agreeing to go back to their principals and further refine their respective positions on the substantive agenda.

A month after signing the landmark Decision Points on Principles document which both parties view as a guide to the continuing discussions on the substantive aspects of the negotiations, both parties went back to the Malaysian capital to explore each other's positions on wealth-sharing, power-sharing, governance, transition roadmap and normalization. These discussions shall serve as inputs to the peace pact which both parties hope to sign soon.

"There were highs and lows in our discussions," GPH panel member Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said, "but I'd like to believe that we were able to share each other's bottomlines and explore different possibilities."

For his part, Leonen said that "the talks have been difficult but we were able to build on what has been achieved in last month's round (of talks)."

Leonen further emphasized that what's important for the government is that it was able to bring to the table the results of the consultations conducted with the different stakeholders in the Mindanao peace process.

Meanwhile, the panel will continue to engage national and local officials, civil society groups, communities, experts and other stakeholders to gain their insights on the government's position.

Aside from Leonen and Ferrer, the government peace panel is composed of Presidential Assistant for Muslim Concerns Yasmin Busran-Lao, former agriculture secretary Senen Bacani and Dr. Hamid Barra.

Joining the panel in this round of talks are North Cotabato 1st district Rep. Jesus Sacdalan, Maguindanao Gov. Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu, Basilan Gov. Jum Akbar, Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan, Tawi-Tawi Gov. Sadikul Sahali and Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong who served as consultants and observers to the negotiations. #