Peace process underway; two panels being set up

July 6, 2010 9:59 pm 

MANILA, July 6 — Malacañang said Tuesday moves are underway to compose two government negotiating panels that will move forward the stalled peace talks with the two rebel groups in the country – the communist National Democratic Front (NDF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) — under the new directions set by President Benigno “P-Noy” S. Aquino III.

Presidential Spokesman Edward Lacierda said President Aquino met today with newly-named Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Teresita “Ging” Deles in Malacañang to discuss the composition of the two panels and the new tack on the peace process.

In his June 30 inaugural speech the President vowed a sincere approach to the peace process: “My government will be sincere in dealing with all the peoples of Mindanao. We are committed to a peaceful and just settlement of conflicts, inclusive of the interests of all – may they be Lumads, Bangsamoro or Christian.”

Lacierda also said that the President is proceeding with his peace initiatives along the four (4) pillars of security he had outlined during the presidential campaign.

He said that these will be done in broad strokes consistent with the Aquino administration’s 4 pillars of security, as follows:

a.) good governance;

b.) delivery of basic social services such as education, health and livelihood;

c.) economic recovery and sustainable development with emphasis on the development of Mindanao; and

d.) security sector reforms through the professionalization of the AFP and by providing the necessary equipment on the ground.

“They are currently forming the negotiating peace panels and there will be two negotiating peace panels, one for CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines), one for MILF” (Moro Islamic Liberation Front),” Lacierda said.

Lacierda said each panel will be composed of five members each.

According to Lacierda, the panels will review the implementations of past agreements done with CPP-NDF and the MILF.

Lacierda said that “the idea of the peace panel not only involves the specific peace talks but also the external, which not only means dealing with rebels but making sure that the area where the armed conflict emerged will be economically sustained and development will take place .”

Lacierda said he has word from Sec. Deles that the timetable in reaching an agreement with separatists and the insurgents will depend on the peace process itself and the “good faith of all parties” involved.

But he said that the macro approach of delivering the four pillars of security is underway. (PNA)

LAP/OPS/ssc

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