The usual suspects: a cautionary tale

On Valentine's Day and eve of GPH-NDFP formal peace talks: A call to release all political prisoners (Arkibong Bayan)

Although he has yet to be inaugurated as the 16th President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte has already met with the leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). His presumptive peace negotiators also met with the leaders of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) last June 15 in Oslo, Norway, to discuss the resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the NDFP by July this year.

The meeting with the NDFP has been described as cordial and open, and that with the MNLF and the MILF as one “among brothers.” Although part of the agenda in the Duterte meeting with the MILF was the incoming administration’s commitment to the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which has been in limbo since 2015 because of the Mamasapano incident and the refusal of Congress to act on it, the meeting with the biggest groups that have been involved in the Mindanao conflict was also meant to resolve such other issues as the MNLF’s resistance to the BBL and the tension between it and the MILF.

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