Friday, September 13, 2013

Aquino govt committed to forging final peace pact despite ongoing Zamboanga violence September 12, 2013

From the Website of the President


Aquino govt committed to forging final peace pact despite ongoing Zamboanga violence September 12, 2013
The Aquino administration said on Wednesday that it is committed to sealing a final peace deal with Muslim separatists in Mindanao whatever the current odds like the violence happening in Zamboanga City since Monday.

In a media briefing in Malacanang, Presidential adviser on the peace process Teresita Deles said that like other peace processes, the government’s peace dialogue with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has been facing challenges particularly from groups whose interests will be affected by a final peace pact.

It Is a normal thing to see eruption of violence in some parts of Mindanao as the government and the MILF move towards forging a final peace agreement, Deles said, noting some groups will try to derail the ongoing peace process.

“We should not be surprised when there are incidents like these as we approach the end of a peace process because peace processes come up with agreements that introduces changes and some people will not like that,” Deles said.

“In all the peace processes it is not unusual that there is an outbreak of violence or some violent disturbance. What is important is not that these things happen or do not happen but how we stand up to it. And this government’s position is that we stand by the peace process that we are moving forward and we will complete the peace process for the Southern Philippines.”

As to how to end the ongoing crisis in Zamboanga City, Deles said they received messages saying it is only Nur Misuari who could put an end to the standoff. She also said that the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) could create the mechanism to understand what is going on in Zamboanga City.

The Philippine government has also requested the assistance of the Indonesian government, which has been facilitating the review of the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), to resolve the crisis, Deles noted.
Asked if the government considers using military action to end the Zamboanga City standoff, considering the large number of government forces sent there, Deles said the presence of a huge number of military force is intended for containment and civilian protection.

“I think the volume of military there is to make sure that it is contained. If the government’s position was a military position then we would not have seen that yesterday. Our government is very conscious of the civilians that are going to be affected,” she said.

The President’s peace adviser also said that there are communities who want peace and development, which could only be possible through cooperation between several factions of the MNLF.

Deles said these communities have called for unity of their leaders because the people have suffered enough as a result of many decades of war.

“These are the communities that we have tried to listen to first and foremost. Even as we have difficulties dealing with the leadership that often did not have one voice. And in the end, I think, that what we will have to look at is the needs of our people.”

What is happening in Zamboanga City is bitter and disappointing because the communities that are currently under threat are poor Muslim communities and some of the casualties are Muslims, Deles said.


President Aquino says Napoles may be charged in relation to alleged misuse of pork barrel funds by Friday September 10, 2013
President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Tuesday that appropriate charges in relation to the alleged misuse of the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) may be filed against Janet Lim Napoles by Friday.

President Aquino told reporters in a press conference after keynoting the 7th ASEAN Navy Chiefs Meeting in Makati City that government prosecutors were studying the evidences, analyses and “possible defenses that can be brought to court” in order to have a rock-solid case against Napoles.

“The first charges with regards to this issue, I understand, will be filed not later than Monday. There is a possibility it can be filed by Friday. I will be given a briefing on what the lawyers called the theory of the case, the evidence that supports the theory of the case,” the President said.

“So a complete briefing sometime this week; and the commitment is not later than Monday next week, and possibly by Friday this week,” he noted.

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