AFP confident Mindanao conflict will be put to an end

October 3, 2012 9:54 pm 

MANILA, Oct. 3 — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday expressed confidence that the government will be able to broker a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and put an end to the almost 50 years conflict in some areas of Mindanao.

Col. Arnulfo M. Burgos, Jr., the military's spokesperson, said that peace in Mindanao would give the Philippines the opportunity to promote sustainable growth and development particularly in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

"We at the AFP continue to support all peace initiatives and peace building efforts of the government," he stressed.

The AFP spokesperson also added that this is in line with the government's Internal Peace and Security Program "Bayanihan".

Burgos added the military will continue all its operations against Umbra Kato's Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) with the support of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

"They have violated the law and they have to be made accountable for their crimes," he emphasized.

Burgos added that the operations against the BIFF cannot be considered a military one as members of the group are all wanted by the law.

"This is a law enforcement operation aimed at bringing to justice these personalities," he pointed.

The AFP spokesperson also stressed that all military units are in alert for possible BIFF attacks in Mindanao.

Government chief negotiator Marvic Leonen earlier expressed the Philippine government’s optimism to finally “usher in an era of peace” in Mindanao during the Tuesday opening of the 32nd Formal Exploratory Talks between the Government of the Philippines and the MILF in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In his opening statement, Leonen said he was confident that a peace settlement on the decades-old Mindanao problem could be at hand soon.

“Let us persevere, respect our differences but engage our best creativity in finding commonalities despite the differences. Now is the time to fulfill our promises to our people. After all, there is no other way to resolve the difficulties and the vulnerabilities that lack of peace has brought to our people than to commence the implementation of a just and pragmatic solution that meets both our expectations,” he stressed. (PNA)

LAM/PFN

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