Peace process moves on – Ermita
by ES Subong
Iloilo City (25 August) -- Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the peace process moves on as the government is not putting the peace talks in the back burner, with widespread consultations on the proposed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) in the offing.
Ermita said the peace process would continue even as government troops hunt down the two renegade MILF commanders.
He also said that while President Arroyo's directive was to go after the rogue MILF commanders, the President wanted to ensure that collateral damage would be avoided.
Ermita added that it is in this light that military and police forces, as part of their pursuit operations, and representatives from various government agencies are to touch base and work closely with local government officials and community leaders in areas affected to ensure the delivery of necessary social services to people.
He also said the talks will continue and the matter of disarmament will be a subject that can be effectively addressed when the peace agreement is signed.
Meanwhile, Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said the government will no longer sign the MOA-AD in its present form as much will depend on the results of the consultations will all stakeholders, with the Bishop-Ulama conference earlier called by the president to help get the pulse of the affected populace.
On the other hand, President Arroyo said the ongoing police and military operations against renegade MILF leaders and their followers are only meant to ensure the success of the peace process once fightings in Mindanao subside and both sides agree to resume negotiations. (PIA 6) [top]