By CAROLYN O. ARGUILLAS, MindaNews KALAYAAN GARDENS, Malacanan Palace (MindaNews /27 March) — From the battlefields of Mindanao, the 17-year old peace negotiations between the Philippine government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) formally ended at 5:29 p.m. on Thursday, March 27, with the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in the gardens of Malacanang. “We celebrate today the shared victory of the Bangsamoro and the Filipino people. The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro finally brings with it the restoration of the identity, powers and resources of the Bangsamoro. These three things which have been ours since time immemorial, unjustly taken through colonization and occupation, are now returned to us,” Al Haj Murad Ebrahim told the crowd of over a thousand guests from government and the MILF, civil society, diplomatic community, religious leaders, indigenous peoples and ‘bakwits’ (internally displaced peoples). The CAB is the “crowning glory of our struggle… to find the final answer to the Bangsamoro Question,” a negotiated political agreement “that not only promises but guarantees mutual recognition, respect and restoration of the legitimate rights of the people in the Bangsamoro,” he said. Murad was long-time MILF vice chair for Military Affairs and Chief of Staff of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) who concurrently served as MILF peace panel chair when the peace talks resumed in 2001 following the “all-out war” declared by the Estrada administration in 2000. Murad assumed the post of MILF chair following the death of founding chair Salamat Hashim in July 2003.