Government-MILF Peace Talks: Implementation Challenges and Opportunities

1. As the parties plan and hope that things will happen as they plan it, we should consider all other scenarios and prepare for them as well. Resilience is key as the goals are the same: peace and development in Mindanao.

2. The bulk of the work for peace in Mindanao is in the implementation phase. As the negotiations in Kuala Lumpur come to a close, the parties need to prepare for the implementation phase. One of the lessons from the GRP-MNLF peace process is that a peace agreement would fail if there is no one ┬áin the Philippine Government who is charged with making sure that the peace agreements will be implemented. Thus, the Philippine Government needs to designate a Cabinet level “orchestrator” to oversee the implementation of the agreements as this is already beyond negotiations and would involve orchestrating actions of political, bureaucratic, military, legislative, judicial and social institutions. The high skills required of the “orchestrator” would be legal, political and communications and more importantly, the orchestrator must have “political power”, i.e the President’s complete trust and confidence. If the “orchestrator” is not Cabinet level, it would be difficult to push the implementation of the agreements.

3. These scenarios are meant to trigger more thinking into what might possibly happen in the future, not on what probably will happen. This is not some sort of prediction. The critical points are presented so that the parties can plan ahead or consider them before they signed the comprehensive compact.

4. The map is not complete or comprehensive and is created by an outsider – one who has no insider information or participation in the current GPH-MILF peace process.