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PIA Press Release

Razon optimistic on resuming talks with MILF

Manila (17 February) -- Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Avelino I. Razon Jr. said he remains optimistic for the government to resume the stalled peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), saying differences between the two sides can be worked out.

"I believe there is no problem that cannot be threshed out," Razon said as he answered point by point the statement of Khaled Musa, MILF deputy information chief, who said that peace negotiations with the government were not likely to take place soon.

"Every step we take towards peace even how small it may be, is always a step forward to the attainment of a lasting peace in our country," he said.

"We will hasten the peace process because for as long as the peace talks are stalled, our countrymen, especially in Mindanao in insurgency-affected areas continue to suffer," Razon said.

Razon explained that the new paradigm adapted by the government based on constitutionality, authentic consultation, dialogues with the communities to get the public sentiment to ensure the end of hostilities, the comprehensive peace process should contain as a component disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR).

Razon clarified that DDR "is not a condition to restart the peace talks."

DDR is being recognized worldwide in all countries that have had internal conflict as part and parcel of the peace talks, Razon said, citing the statements by foreign peace advocates who were invited recently by the Philippine government to speak thoroughly about DDR.

He said the peace process spearheaded by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has "achieved many milestone in this endeavor and as eager as all of you to move the peace process forward not only for the sake of our brothers in Mindanao, but for the entire country as well."

"With the Mindanao conflict and the insurgency problem continuously posing serious threats to our country and people, we need to seek new and better ways to address the peace problem," Razon said.

Razon reiterated his commitment to work hard for the country to achieve a genuine and lasting peace.

The government will also intensify its social integration program (SIP) to ensure that former rebels will be given livelihood to become good citizens.

Razon also said that the government is implementing its projects for peace such as construction of roads, bridges, school buildings, irrigation and health centers, among others, particularly in conflict-affected areas.

He said consultations with local stakeholders will continue to be intensified to give them the latest updates on what is going on in the peace process, specifically during the formal talks.

Razon said that with determination, perseverance and creativeness between the parties concerned "by exploring all possibilities to end the twin insurgencies hounding our nation there is no reason why we cannot solve our differences at the conference table and sign a peace agreement." (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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