Philippine president reiterates peace-through-dialogue policy on Insurgency

00:13, July 27, 2010      

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Philippine President Benigno Aquino reiterated his administration's pledge of achieving lasting peace through dialogue with all anti-government groups in his first State of the Nation Address delivered on Monday afternoon.

He said, "Our view has not changed when it comes to the situation in Mindanao. We will only achieve lasting peace if all stakeholders engage in an honest dialogue: may they be Moro, Lumad, or Christian."

"We have asked Dean Marvic Leonen to head our efforts to talk to the MILF," and "We will learn from the mistakes of the past administration, which sprung upon the people an agreement reached without consultation from all concerned," he added.

He said the government has recognized the efforts of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to discipline those within its ranks, and vowed to start negotiations with MILF during the first 100 days of his governance.

Aquino also urged the New People's Army to show their true desire for cease-fire talks, rather than pure criticism and finger- pointing. "I call on everyone concerned not to waste a good opportunity to rally behind one goal for peace," he said.

"Our foundation for growth is peace. We will continue to be shackled by poverty if the crossfire persists," he said. Responding to Aquino's speech, the Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) spokesman Jose Mabanta said "We very much welcome (the peace initiatives) because it will be the soldiers will be the main beneficiaries of the ceasefire."

In his address, Aquino said peace negotiations with MILF are expected to resume at the end of Ramadan. The Muslim's month-long religious festivities will start at the middle of August.

Meanwhile, Mohagher Iqbal, chair of the MILF's committee on information, said they are taking the statement of Aquino positively.

"(It's a) welcomed statement. Its quite definitive, he would resume the peace process, it will be after Ramadan and the chairman of the government panel has been appointed already, he took notice of the MILF efforts to discipline, reign in its own ranks," he said.

However, Iqbal said that while there are overtures from the government to resume the talks, "We can only compose our panel after the government panel finally complete their panel."

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

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