Malacanang said it hopes that the Bangsamoro general assembly to be conducted by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) this weekend will eventually pave the way for the signing of a peace agreement with the Aquino government.
The MILF is holding its general assembly starting July 7 to 9 in Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. The MILF said that at least 500,000 to one million people will be attending the general assembly.
Representatives from the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and other international organizations are expected to participate.
“We view this as a positive development for the MILF to consolidate its support for the peace agreement. And so it’s something that we welcome. Secretary Ging Deles and the negotiating panel will be there in Camp Darapanan to attend,” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a media briefing in Malacanang on Friday.
Asked by reporters if the Aquino administration expects the meeting to fast-track the signing of a peace agreement with the MILF, Lacierda said: “We certainly would hope so and as we have always stated, we are cautiously optimistic that a peace agreement will be signed within this administration.”
During the last general assembly held in 2005, some 900,000 MILF followers went to Camp Darapanan to know the progress of the peace talks then.
The goals of the MILF consultative assembly is to rally supporters behind its negotiating positions, to keep restive rebel commanders in line and check their loyalties, and to show its force and influence in Mindanao to the general public.
The MILF has been battling the government for over 30 years to achieve self-rule in Mindanao. Upon assuming office, the President initiated renewed peace efforts with the MILF hoping that under his term a peace deal would be signed.