Gov’t won’t abandon peace talks with MILF

May 27, 2009 1:22 pm 

MANILA, May 27 — Malacanang said today it has not abandoned the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“The peace talks with the MILF will continue. We have not abandoned it,” Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said at his weekly press briefing in Malacanang this afternoon.

He said the government is waiting for the signal from Malaysia, the facilitator of the peace talks, for the resumption of the negotiations.

But Ermita assured that the government is in constant touch through the back channel with Malaysia and the MILF leadership.

On issue of kidnappings perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf, Ermita said the government would maintain its no-ransom policy.

He said that about three days ago, the Abu Sayyaf had threatened to behead the three teachers the bandit group had abducted if there was no progress in the negotiations for ransom but “we did not give in to the ASG demand. And somehow they (three teachers have) gained their freedom.”

With more reason, the government will intensify the pursuit operations against the Abu Sayyaf to stop their criminal activities, Ermita said.

On the fate of three other teachers abducted in Zamboanga Sibugay, Ermita said there was no definite information yet on their situation “but you can be sure that there is continuing effort” to rescue them.

“We do not announce every little detail of what we are doing,” he said, adding that hopefully the three teachers will be freed safe and sound like their three other colleagues. (PNA)

DCT/OPS/ssc

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