Timeline: GRP-MILF peace process

Posted at 08/15/2008 3:24 PM | Updated as of 08/15/2008 3:24 PM

2001

March 24 – Presidential adviser on the peace process Eduardo Ermita and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) vice-chair for military affairs Al Haj Murad Ebrahim sign the Agreement of the General Framework for the Resumption of peace talks between the GRP and MILF. Malaysia assists in the peace talks by brokering between the two parties.

March 31 – President Arroyo signs Republic Act 9054, an amendment of Republic Act 6734. The act aims to strengthen and expand the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

June 22 – The ancestral domain aspect of the GRP-M ILF Tripoli Agreement is signed in Libya. The following day, the military attacks the MILF in Basilan due to allegations that the latter is helping the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, which was then keeping a number of American and Filipino hostages in Basilan.

August 2 – Six municipalities in Lanao del Norte vote for inclusion in ARMM. These municipalities are Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan, and Tangkol.

August 14 – Phe people of North Cotabato vote against the plebiscite and refuse to be included in ARMM.

October 29 – The MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) hold unity talks. The MNLF had already signed a peace agreement with the government in 1996 under the Ramos administration.

November 26 – Former MNLF governor Nur Misuari starts a rebellion in Sulu and Zamboanga City, derailing the ARMM elections.

2002

January 7 – Misuari is deported from Sabah, Malaysia and faces rebellion charges in the country.

May 6 – The fourth round of formal peace talks between the government and the MILF begins. The talks produced the following agreements: 1) Joint Communique to veto criminal syndicates and kidnap-for-ransom groups in Mindanao; 2) Implementing Guidelines on the Humanitarian Rehabilitation and Development aspect of the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement of Peace of 2001. These agreements became controversial because Norberto Gonzalez, the President’s adviser on special concerns, and not Jesus Dureza, leader of the negotiating panel, signed the documents.

2003

February 10 – The government peace panel led by Dureza presents a draft of the final peace agreement to House Speaker Jose de Venecia and Senate President Franklin Drilon.

February 11 – A military campaign is launched in the Muslim village of Buliok during the end of the Hajj. This offends the MILF and other Muslims, igniting a clash between the two parties that lasted for a week.

March 27 – Exploratory talks take place in Kuala Lumpur.

April 2 – Davao is bombed twice and grenades are hauled in three mosques. The government blames the MILF for these commotions. The latter denies the allegations.

May 6 – President Arroyo cancels peace talks.

May 25 – MILF declares a 20-day ceasefire that extends until June 12.

July 13 – MILF chair Salamat Hashim dies of a heart attack and Ebrahim Murad takes over. Mohagher Iqbal becomes the chairman of the MILF peace panel.

July 19 – In the peace talks in Kuala Lumpur, the government and the MILF panels agree on a “mutual cessation of hostilities.” The Abaya Doctrine, or the AFP guidelines on the primacy of the GRP-MILF peace process, is formulated.

September 5 – Exploratory peace talks in Kuala Lumpur yield the following: 1) gradual pull-out of the troops in Buliok; 2) deployment of the Third Party Monitoring Team to Mindanao; 3) formation of the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG); and 4) ancestral domain is set as next agenda for the peace talks.

2004

January 18 – Sixty peace monitors from Malaysia, Brunei, and Libya are deployed to Mindanao to monitor the five-year truce between the two parties. Malaysia sends 41 unarmed soldiers.

December 20 – The discussion on ancestral domain, the last of the three major agenda items, is divided into four strands: concept, territory, resources, and governance.

2005

April 16 – The seventh round of exploratory talks in Malaysia concludes the discussion on concept, territory, and resources.

September 17 – Silvestre Afable, head of the GRP panel, and Iqbal say the panels successfully finished the “most difficult hurdle in the ancestral domain agenda.”

2006

February 6 – Peace negotiators promise to draft an overall framework of the ancestral domain by late March.

March 6 – Malaysia cancels the peace talks between the GRP and the MILF because of the political situation in Manila. Arroyo declared a state of emergency on February 24, which was lifted a week after.

August 31 – Japan sends a delegation to Manila to talk about Japan’s contributions to the peace process.

September 3 – The peace talks between GRP and MILF resume but will possibly extend beyond September. Difficulties in the talks arise as both parties do not agree on the areas to be placed under the Bangsamoro Judicial Entity (BJE).

2007

May 12 – Arroyo instructs the AFP to “work closely with the mechanisms of the peace process to keep combatants in place.”

June 16 – Silvestre Afable resigns reportedly because of lack of support from the government.

July – 10 Marine officers are beheaded in Basilan after skirmishes with the MILF.

August 13 – Arroyo calls for a “pilot implementation of the envisioned Muslim ancestral domain regime.”

August 17 – Arroyo calls “urgent” peace talks with the MILF to resolve the Basilan situation.

August 19 – The government cancels a scheduled meeting with the MILF in Malaysia. Peace talks scheduled to resume in September.

October 24 – The government panel chair Rodolfo Garcia and MILF peace panel chair Iqbal say in a joint statement that formal talks on ancestral domain can be finally be concluded, ending the 13-month impasse between the two parties.

November 15 – The parties agree to the scope and boundaries of the ancestral domain and affirm “all previous points of consensus on the core items of the territory issue.”

December 16 – Peace talks are stalled due to constitutional issues between the two parties. The ancestral domain negotiations reach a deadlock.

2008

April 21 – Malaysia, a member of the International Monitoring Team, starts to pull out their soldiers in Mindanao.

May 10 – The Malaysian troops withdraw from Mindanao. British experts promise to help in the peace talks.

July 9 – An informal emergency meeting between the GRP and MILF is called to defuse tension between the two groups. Here, MILF complains about the deployment of troops near their bases, claiming the move is “a clear violation of the ceasefire agreement.”

July 17 – A deal on ancestral domain of some local Muslim communities is made between the two parties in Kuala Lumpur.

July 21 – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of North Cotabato passes a resolution opposing to be included in the ARMM homeland.

July 24 – GRP and MILF start their talks in Kuala Lumpur. In Manila, pro-government legislators in the House of Representatives file a bill to postpone the August 11 elections in ARMM.

July 25 – After two days of negotiations in Kuala Lumpur, the ancestral domain deal fails to be signed.

July 27 – The two groups sign a joint communiqué on the Muslim ancestral domain. The MOA provides that about 700 villages in Mindanao will hold a referendum within 12 months (of the MOA signing) if they want to join the Muslim homeland. The signing of the agreement is temporarily set on August 5. Formal peace deal scheduled to be concluded in November 2009.

August 2 – Local officials from North Cotabato ask the Supreme Court to block the signing of the agreement between GRP and MILF.

August 4 – The Supreme Court issues a Temporary Restraining Order for the signing of the ancestral domain in Malaysia on August 5.

August 11 - Sen. Mar Roxas and former Senator Franklin Drilon file petitions with the Supreme Court to stop the Philippine government from concluding the MOA with the MILF.

August 15—The Supreme Court holds oral arguments on the GRP-MILF MOA.

-Research by Lei Chavez/abs-cbnNEWS.com