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PIA Press Release

Gov't close to inking peace pact with MILF - PGMA

ILIGAN CITY (24 September) -- An optimistic President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said today the government is now close to signing a peace pact with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The President based her optimism on the fact that majority of Filipinos living in Mindanao are now helping the government realize their long-cherished dream of peace that would bring a new era of economic development in the region.

"We are very close to an agreement with the MILF. With your support, I remain optimistic we can overcome the final barriers on ancestral domain so that we can bring finality to the peace process," she said in her speech at the Iligan Business Forum this afternoon.

The President informed the business leaders of Iligan that in the last six years, Mindanao vastly improved in terms of safety, security and economic growth.

She also told them that despite the ancestral domain issue, the current agreement between the GRP and the MILF are making things better "and it will take off if both sides achieve lasting peace that would signal the pouring in of millions (of dollars) in foreign aid."

The President noted that the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf remains a big obstacle in the way of bringing peace, stability and order to Southern Philippines.

"They are the menace to peace and a beacon for international thugs who wish to join their ranks," she pointed out.

The President informed the business leaders that her government is ready to provide amnesty to all communist rebels who want to return to the mainstream.

She said she believes that for the Philippines to become a modernized country, the government should "put a stop to the ideological nonsense and criminal acts" of the communist group.

She noted that based on the record of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) is now a low-level threat to the country. (PIA) [top]

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