President Aquino optimistic peace talks with MILF to start soon

September 8, 2010 6:37 am 

MANILA, Sept. 7 — With the feast of Ramadan ending this Friday and the constitution of the government panel negotiating peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front now being rushed, President Benigno S. Aquino III said he is optimistic the peace process will start soon.

In an ambush interview after the mass oath taking of newly-appointed government officials at the Rizal Hall of Malacanang, the President said he had just appointed and sworn in the last member of the government negotiating panel, Luisito Montalbo.

Montalbo is a newly-appointed Undersecretary at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

The President said he was to meet Secretary Ging Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, later in the day.

In an interview over Radyo ng Bayan last Saturday, Deles said the panel will take off from the agreements and discussions arrived at by previous negotiating panels with MILF. "We are also involving not just the President and the Security Council in the course of the negotiations but advisers from the advisory body," she said.

She reported the formation of an advisory body composed of members of both Houses of Congress, retired justices of the Supreme Court, members of the 1987 Constitutional Commission, local governments in strife-affected areas, non government organizations involved in peace efforts and the former chairmen of previous peace panels.

She said she had asked House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to designate their representatives to the advisory body that will be dealing with the negotiating panel headed by chief peace negotiator Marvic Leonen. (PNA)

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