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PIA Press Release

New peace paradigm working well in Mindanao - PGMA

DAVAO CITY (10 September) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said today that the new paradigm for peace in Mindanao, combining the soft power of development and the hard power of the military, in the quest for permanent peace in Mindanao is working well.

She revealed that despite the all-out military offensive against the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, there has been no report of civilian casualty.

The President arrived at the Davao International Airport at 4 a.m. on a direct flight from Sydney, Australian where she attended the 15th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum of the 21 leaders of the Pacific Rim countries.

In an informal media interaction at the Martha's Restaurant at the convention mountain and prayer center of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in Tamayong, Calinan District a few hours after her arrival from Sydney, the President said she was thankful to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for their coordination and cooperation in the peace and security arrangements implemented by the government in the current operations against the Abu Sayyaf.

She explained that the government's total war against the Abu Sayyaf constitutes the "hard power" component of the new paradigm, while the soft approach pertains to the government's consolidated operation to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed during the military-Abu Sayyaf confrontations.

"So iyon ang isang kabisaan noon, the estimation of the police showing development at walang civilian casualties dito sa offensive na ito. Pero nagpapasalamat naman tayo dahil sa bisa ng peace and security arrangements, hindi nakikialam ang MILF sa offensive na ito," the President said.

She also reiterated the government's commitment to go back to the negotiating table, saying she conveyed this position to Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi on the sidelines of the APEC leaders' meeting.

"Siyempre nag-alala ang Malaysia dahil sila ang facilitator ng formal peace talks, nang nagkaroon ng ambush sa Basilan. At sinabi ko sa kanya (Badawi) na committed tayo na bumalik sa peace table," she said, adding that the same sentiment was also aired by the MILF peace panel.

Joining the President in her visit here were Trade Secretary Peter Favila, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza.

Also present at the media interaction were Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. (PIA) [top]

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