Oct 222014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/10/06MANILA4221.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA4221 2006-10-04 09:21 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO9195
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #4221/01 2770921
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 040921Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3284
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MANILA 004221

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/EAP AND EAP/MTS
USPACOM ALSO FOR FPA HUSO
SECDEF/OSD/ISA/AP (LAWLESS/TOOLAN/BAILEY)
JOINT STAFF/J5 (WILKES/ROBINSON/CLEMMONS)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/04/2016
TAGS: PINS KISL RP
SUBJECT: GRP-MILF PEACE TALKS CONFRONT DIFFICULT ISSUES

REF: A. KUALA LUMPUR 1812

¶B. MANILA 3344
¶C. MANILA 3321
¶D. MANILA 2994
¶E. MANILA 2833
¶F. MANILA 2013

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (c).

¶1. (C) Summary. Peace talks between the Government of the
Philippines (GRP) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
remain at an impasse over the issue of ancestral domain, the
historically Muslim territory claimed by the MILF. The GRP
Peace Panel lacks a mandate to expand the existing boundaries
of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao without a
constitutional amendment and plebiscite, contingencies that
the MILF does not accept. Meanwhile, the International
Monitoring Team, civil society, and international donor
community continue to play a critical role in sustaining the
momentum of the GRP-MILF peace process on the ground.
Despite intense debates between pragmatists and
traditionalists within the MILF Central Committee over
ancestral domain, and growing opposition by various parties
to the creation of the proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity,
the GRP and MILF remain determined to reach a settlement to
end their decades-old conflict. End Summary.

—————–
Impasse Continues
—————–

¶2. (C) The GRP and MILF Peace Panels failed to break the
impasse over ancestral domain during their 13th Round of
Exploratory Talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on September 6-7.
GRP Peace Negotiations Panel Secretariat Director Ryan
Sullivan told poloff that GRP negotiators did not have a
mandate to delineate the territorial boundaries of a
Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) without provisions for a
constitutional amendment and plebiscite, neither of which was
acceptable to the MILF. Sullivan said that a new ancestral
domain proposal would be drafted by the GRP Peace Panel
before the next round of exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur.

¶3. (C) GRP Peace Panel Negotiator Lieutenant General (ret.)
Rudolfo Garcia separately admitted to DCM that the peace
process had hit a “low.” Both sides, he said, would have to
think “innovatively and creatively” about how to get out of
the impasse. Garcia pointed out that the GRP and MILF had
encountered similar obstacles in the past, and had always
found a way to move forward. He stated that Malaysia was
pushing to “fast track” the negotiations, but cautioned that
the question of ancestral domain was the hardest and most
difficult question to resolve. The MILF leadership was
pragmatic and understood how much they had to gain from
peace. While obliged to take into account (and to some
extent publicly play to) the concerns of younger and more
impatient elements of their constituency, Garcia believed
that Chairman Murad and other members of MILF Central
Committee would not let the situation get out of hand.

——————–
Concern Over the IMT
——————–

¶4. (C) Sullivan expressed concern over how long the
Malaysian Government would continue to support the
International Monitoring Team (IMT) without a breakthrough on
the contentious issue of ancestral domain. The IMT, civil
society, and the international donor community continue to
play a critical role in sustaining the momentum of the
GRP-MILF peace process while the impasse continues, according
to Sullivan. (Note: Malaysian Major General Dato Ismael bin
Ahmad formally took over as Head of Mission of the 60-member
IMT during a September 10 ceremony at the IMT headquarters in
Cotabato City. Japan plans to second a development expert to
the IMT by the end of 2006. End Note.)

—————————————
Constitutional vs. Extra-Constitutional
—————————————

¶5. (C) MILF Peace Panel Technical Committee Chairman Musib
Buat told poloff that making the creation of a BJE and its

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territorial boundaries contingent upon a constitutional
amendment and plebiscite was completely unacceptable to the
MILF. Buat explained to poloff that the MILF identified the
3,000 barangays (townships) that were to be included in a BJE
from census and tax records; land titles; data from the
Commission for Elections, Office of Muslim Affairs, local
government units, and barangay captains; and on the ground
consultations. Based on this data, the GRP’s offer of 613
barangays fell far short of the number claimed by the MILF as
ancestral domain, according to Buat.

————————
Who Will Get What Share?
————————

¶6. (C) Buat said that under the MILF’s economic formula, the
BJE would receive 80 per cent of all profits, taxes,
royalties, and fees from “strategic minerals,” including oil
and natural gas deposits, within its territorial boundaries.
All new contracts would be negotiated directly with the BJE,
while all existing contracts between the GRP and third
parties, such as corporations, would be honored until the
expiration date of the contract or modified by the BJE
depending on the nature of the contract.

¶7. (C) Bangsamoro Law and Policy Director Zainuddin Malang
told poloff that heated debates over land and natural
resources were becoming more frequent among members of the
MILF Central Committee. During the month of Ramadan,
“intense discussions” will be held among MILF leaders over
the current impasse on ancestral domain, according to Malang.

—————————-
Indigenous People Opposition
—————————-

¶8. (C) Nationl Commission on Indigenous Peoples Chairperson
Jnnette Cansing Serrano told poloff that leaders and
representatives from 18 tribes of non-Islamized Indigenous
Peoples (IPs) gathered in Bukidnon Province on July 24-26 for
the first-ever “Mindanao Indigenous Peoples’ Summit” to
proclaim their strong opposition to inclusion of their lands
in a BJE (see ref B). Historical enmity between
non-Islamized IPs and Muslims in Mindanao runs so deep,
according to Serrano, that many tribal communities were
prepared to take up arms to protect their ancestral domain
areas.

—————————————
Powerful Ampatuan Clan Opposed, As Well
—————————————

¶9. (C) No lines of communication have been established
between the MILF and ARMM Administration of Zaldy Ampatuan
regarding the GRP-MILF peace process. Maguindanao
Congressman and House Justice Committee Chairman Simeon
Datumanong, who is the nephew of Maguindanao Governor Andal
Ampatuan, told poloff that a constitutional amendment and
plebiscite were required before any territory from the ARMM
could be included in a BJE. Datumanong said he would
strongly oppose the passage of such an amendment, and
predicted that in a plebiscite the majority of voters would
vote against being included in a BJE.

¶10. (C) ARMM Executive Secretary Oscar Sampulna separately
told poloff that any GRP-MILF agreement that included ARMM
territory in a BJE was unconstitutional. Other ARMM
officials are prepared to challenge such an amendment to the
Supreme Court. According to ARMM Attorney General Frances
Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, the ongoing “rido” or feud between the
Ampatuan clan and MILF Commanders Umbril Kato, Wahid Tundok,
and Said Pakiladatu over the death of Maguindanao Governor
Andal Ampatuan’s son, Saudi Ampatuan, and the June 23, 2006
bombing that left two Ampatuan nephews dead was a “deeply
emotional issue.” The Ampatuan clan was insisting that the
“killers” must be brought to justice, according to Sayadi.

————————————
MNLF Still Considers ARMM as Its Own
————————————

¶11. (C) Cotabato City Mayor and MNLF Secretary-General
Muslimin Sema told poloff that the creation of a BJE cannot

MANILA 00004221 003 OF 003

legally supplant the existing ARMM which was established
through the 1996 Final GRP-MNLF Peace Agreement. Sema said
that jailed MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari and factions within the
MNLF’s Executive Committee still consider the ARMM as their
own, and remain embittered over the loss of the ARMM Regional
Governorship to Zaldy Ampatuan, an ethnic Maguindanaon who
was not a MNLF member. The inclusion of ARMM territory in a
BJE required passage of a constitutional amendment to the
Organic Act for the ARMM (Republic Act 9054) in addition to a
plebiscite, according to Sema. Sema noted that the MNLF and
MILF have yet to reach an agreement that would harmonize the
GRP-MILF peace talks with the 1996 FPA. MNLF leaders
continue to demand that the provisions of the 1996 FPA be
fully implemented by the GRP.

———————————-
Reestablishing the Sulu Sultanate?
———————————-

¶12. (C) Sulu Congressmen Hussin Amin and Munir Arbison told
poloff that the ethnic Tausug dominated MNLF and its
supporters in the Sulu Archipelago would never accept control
over their land and natural resources by an ethnic
Maguindanaon dominated MILF/BJE. In March 2006, Congressman
Amin filed a bill to create an Autonomous Region of the
Sultanate of Sulu Archipelago. According to Sulu Sultan
Ismael Kiram, there is widespread support within the MNLF’s
ranks for the restoration of the traditional sultanate, but
the bill currently lacks support within Congress.

——————————————— —
Powerful Business Families Eye Natural Resources
——————————————— —

¶13. (C) ARMM Department of Trade and Industry Secretary
Ishak Mastura, who is the son of MILF Peace Panel Legal
Adviser Michael Mastura, claimed to poloff on September 12
that powerful Filipino business families are determined to
control rich agricultural lands and natural resources within
Mindanao, including oil and natural gas deposits in the
Cotabato Basin and Sulu Archipelago. Members of these
“oligarchic interests” will use their power and influence to
prevent the sharing of their profits with a BJE, according to
Mastura.

——–
Comment:
——–

¶14. (C) The GRP-MILF peace process faces major challenges
from ethnic and clan divisions and vested political/economic
interests. The GRP’s need for a constitutional amendment and
plebiscite has created a logjam that will be difficult to
break without major compromises on both sides, or a move to a
federal system through charter change. As the impasse
continues, the IMT, civil society, and international donors
will play an ever more critical role in sustaining the
GRP-MILF peace process on the ground.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified SIPRNET website:
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You can also access this site through the State Department’s
Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/
KENNEY

   

 

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