Philippine president pledges to continue Mindanao peace initiatives in next congress

19:59, May 28, 2010      

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Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo vowed on Friday to continue her peace initiatives, particularly in Mindanao, after her term ends on June 30 and when she joins the next Congress as representative for Pampanga's second district.

"When I became President, I declared a policy of all-out peace in Mindanao. As President, I have fought everyday in office to bring that peace to that great island," she said at the government website.

"I will continue to do so until the last minute of my term as President and maybe even beyond. As Congresswoman I will file the bills that I feel are needed in order to bring just and lasting peace in Mindanao,"the President said at the close of the two-day Roundtable Dialogue with International Negotiators jointly sponsored by Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue at the New World Hotel in Makati City.

As a new representative, the President said she will file a bill in Congress calling for a policy review toward an enhanced autonomy in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to fully realize the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people.

To bring the country closer to the completion of the peace process, the President said various agreements have been signed over the last nine years with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front ( MILF).

The President thanked the support of the international community and other stakeholders in helping establish a new paradigm for peace aside from providing moral, financial and diplomatic support to the peace efforts in Mindanao.

Meanwhile, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) urged the Philippine government to allow an assessment mission from the influential Muslim bloc to look into the social and economic plight of Muslims in conflicts zones in Mindanao in a resolution adopted by OIC members during the 37th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on May 20.

The resolution urged "OIC member states, subsidiary organs, and specialized and affiliated institutions as well as benevolent Islamic organizations to increase their medical, humanitarian, economic, financial and technical assistance for the development of Southern Philippines with a view to accelerating the pace of social and economic development."

The Philippine government is hoping to sign a transitional agreement with the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) before President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ends her term on June 30. But both sides admitted that they are not likely to sign a final peace agreement under the Arroyo presidency due to time constraints and unresolved differences between the negotiating parties.

Source: Xinhua


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