Government determined to protect gains of Mindanao peace process, says President Aquino

March 28, 2014 9:38 am 

MANILA, March 27 — President Benigno S. Aquino III vowed to protect the gains of the Mindanao peace agreement and warned those planning to derail peace in the region that they will suffer the consequences of their actions.

“May this also stand as a warning to those who wish to derail our path to a final, lasting peace—to those who wish to sow divisiveness for self-interest, and to those who continue to wield arms to pursue their own agendas: So many people have suffered for so long; so many of our stakeholders have worked so hard to arrive at this point,” the President said during his message prior to the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in Malacanang on Thursday.

“I will not let peace be snatched from my people again. Not now, when we have already undertaken the most difficult and most significant steps to achieve it. Those who want to test the resolve of the state will be met with a firm response based on righteousness and justice—as we demonstrated in Zamboanga City,” he added.

The Aquino administration foiled an attack by the members of the Moro National Liberation Front faction by sending a huge number of military personnel in Zamboanga last year.

Changing the status quo is daunting, he said, noting that he is determined to spearhead a long-term transformation of Mindanao rather than carrying out stop-gap solutions.

The President also thanked those who worked for the successful conclusion of the peace pact signing such as Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak of Malaysia, the leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and Peace adviser Teresita Deles.

The President also thanked the members of the International Monitoring Team—Indonesia, Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, Norway, the European Union and Libya, for creating a peaceful environment conducive to the negotiations.

He also thanked the International Contact Group reiterating the country’s gratitude to Japan, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and the NGO-members of the ICG.

He expressed his gratitude to the members of the Independent Commission on Policing such as Canada, Australia, and Japan. The role played by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation was also of great help, he said.

The President also mentioned the assistance of the United States through USAID; Japan through the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD); Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, and the European Union through their contributions to the Mindanao Trust Fund; Australia and New Zealand for the Facility for Advisory Support for Transition Capacities (FASTRAC).

“We also thank the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and again the European Union for the assistance that you have extended to us,” he said.

“You all have the enduring gratitude of the Filipino people. We will never forget the support you have given, and continue to give us,” the President added. (PNA)



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