Monday, October 8, 2012

Armed Forces of the Philippines Welcomes Mindanao Peace

By Priam F. Nepomuceno

The Armed Forces of the Philippines welcomed on Sunday the decision of the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to ink a framework peace agreement to end the decades of conflict in Mindanao and spur economic development in the region.

"The AFP welcomes this significant milestone in our pursuit of a just and lasting peace for our nation as the peace talks bring to a conclusion and a framework for peace is already at hand," AFP spokesperson Col. Arnulfo M. Burgos Jr. said.

He added that the military is fully committed to the primacy of the peace process as it continues to support all the peace programs and endeavors of the government.

"All operations and activities being undertaken by the AFP in the implementation of Internal Peace and Security Program 'Bayanihan' are consistent with the goals of the government's peace framework and with our people's aspiration to finally end the armed violence between government forces and the MILF. We look forward to the sealing of the final peace agreement very soon, which will eventually bring renewed peace in Mindanao. We remain optimistic that with the forging of the peace agreement, the AFP would be able to gradually shift from internal security operations to territorial defense," Burgos said.

President Benigno S. Aquino III announced in Malacanang on Sunday the forging of a framework agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF to attain lasting peace in Mindanao.

"We have counted two generations since conflict began in Mindanao, a cycle of violence that has claimed the lives of more than a hundred thousand Filipinos. Many solutions have been proposed and tried. We have had peace agreements in the past, but still our hopes for the region remained unfulfilled," President Aquino said.

"The ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) is a failed experiment. Many of the people continue to feel alienated by the system, and those who feel that there is no way out will continue to articulate their grievances through the barrel of a gun. We cannot change this without structural reform. This is the context that informed our negotiations throughout the peace process. And now, we have forged an agreement that seeks to correct these problems. It defines our parameters and our objectives, while upholding the integrity and sovereignty of our nation," he stressed.

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