OPAPP, MILF hope for signing of peace deal in 2012

January 7, 2012 1:35 pm 

COTABATO CITY, Jan. 7 – With the start of the new year, the opportunities for peace remain positive for both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Office of the Presidential Advisr on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles took note of this as she addressed the employees of the OPAPP on their first working day of the year.

“Let 2012 be the year for peace,” Secretary Deles said in a statement released here.

“The year 2011 was a roller coaster. We were up many times and we were also down and under many times – but the solution is to always not allow ourselves to stay down,” she said.

The MILF also expressed optimism a peace deal would be signed this year, the 11th year since the GPH-MILF peace process began.

Deles emphasized that the work of peace is not going to be easy. Challenges await peace builders both on the negotiating table and on the ground, she said.

"We must persevere because the work that we do is not just for us; it’s for the country. Maybe one of the things to be grateful for, to have experienced all of the trials and all of the challenges last year, is that we know exactly what we’re facing this year,” Deles stated.

“We should be ready to be facing challenges, to be facing problems," she added.

Von Al Haq, the MILF spokesperson, said the MILF is more than hopeful a peace agreement that is acceptable to all Mindanaons will be signed this year.

"We have been hoping for that for so long because we believed that the only way to attain peace in our homeland is through peaceful means," Al Haq said.

Deles also stressed the importance of partnerships. “One thing we learned last year and practiced is that peace is not just the work of OPAPP. If we thought it was just our work, we know we would not be able to do it alone. We should also be able to rely on our peace partners.”

Deles said President Benigno S. Aquino III is determined to forge a peace deal within his term and if possible during the first part of 2012.

"We remain hopeful and we remain optimistic a deal that will bring genuine peace in the south is achieved," Deles said.

“Let 2012 be the year for peace in our hearts and in the entire country,” Deles said. (PNA)

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