President cites 'great progress' in gov't-MILF peace talks
TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte (9 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said yesterday the government is close to having a final peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as the government negotiating team is preparing a new draft paper on creating a homeland for Muslims, the most contentious issue derailing the ongoing peace talks in Mindanao.
Speaking at the culmination of the two-day Local Peace and Security Assembly (LPSA) for Region XI here, the President said the government has made great progress in the peace talks with the MILF with the support of Malaysia, Libya, Brunei, Japan and other allied countries.
The President said that Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza informed her this morning that the GRP-MILF is close to having a final peace agreement "with the government negotiating team creating a new draft paper on creating a homeland for Muslims in southern Philippines."
"We are hopeful that this will help the newly restarted talks with the MILF, and we are equally hopeful that it will result in a definitive peace agreement," she added.
The President noted that the peace situation has vastly improved in Mindanao and congratulated the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the police in winning the fight against terrorists, including the New People's Army (NPA) and other rebels to finally bring peace and development in Mindanao.
The Chief Executive said a sustained and lasting peace in Mindanao would eventually bring in development with the inflow of peace building packages promised by other countries.
Before her speech, the President was presented with the consolidated output of the multisectoral LPSA workshops calling for strengthened local government units (LGUs) and national government collaboration to end senseless violence and conflict and spur development in Region XI. (OPS/PIA) [top]