Don’t make MOA-AD reference for peace talks, Celso reiterates PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 13 August 2011 14:12

Mayor Celso Lobregat has emphasized anew that the junked Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain on Bangasamoro Juridical Entity (MOA-AD-BJE) should not be used as reference or take off point for the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The mayor said the MOA-AD has been declared unconstitutional and contrary to law, thus, should not be used as the reference or basis for the proposed establishment of a Bangsamoro sub-estate as requested by the MILF.

“We want real peace but not appeasement and in the peace talks there should be no dismemberment of the Republic and it should be within the realm of the Constitution”, the mayor said in a short press briefing together with Senators Gringo Honasan and Tito Sotto at City Hall yesterday morning.

He stressed: “The MOA-AD should not be used as a reference point or take off point because it has already been decided by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional”.
Mayor Lobregat was one of the leaders in Mindanao fighting for non-inclusion of their areas in the proposed Bangsamoro estate or autonomous region or any other entity by whatever name or form. “We are also hoping and praying that the sentiments of the people of Zamboanga and other areas in Mindanao will be heard through consultations and will be respected.”

He also stressed anew that he was surprised by the meeting between President Noynoy Aquino and MILF leader Al Hadj Murad Ibrahim in Tokyo Japan August 4 but appreciative of the president’s efforts in trying to bring peace in Mindanao.

“We are hopeful that the peace talks will be concluded during his term,” he added.
For their part, Senators Sotto and Honasan said like most Filipinos, they are supportive of anything that will promote peace but emphasized that the talks or negotiations should be in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

Senator Sotto said in the absence of an official statement concerning the peace process, everything remains to be speculations. “Whether this is a speculation or not, we will know it hopefully after the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meeting which is set August 16, Tuesday.

Sotto presumed that the negotiations between the GRP and the MILF have not started and that what is happening is merely exploratory talks. Nevertheless, he stressed, if the talks would open the possibility of a constitutional amendment, the country might as well accommodate the idea of federalism, which is expected to help solve the major problems in Mindanao.

On the other hand, Sen. Honasan said he could not pass judgment on the issue pending the receipt of a more complete information on the matter.
“I will probably share with you the fact that we got a very quick education from Mayor Celso earlier, nobody wants war, everybody wants peace, what we do not want is to set a dangerous precedent that will entail a political, social and economic cost including a cost to our integrity as a people through appeasement.  We do not want to set a dangerous precedent here,” Sen. Honasan emphasized.

He said the negotiating panels should be driven by the comprehensive peace policy that will break the cycle of ceasefires, negotiations, violation of the ceasefire and that the peace agreement or the initial agreement at the cost of civilian lives and the destruction to lives and property.

“Everybody wants peace but we don’t want appeasement, that will have long term ramifications and that will entail a severe cost that we cannot bear as a people and as a Republic”, Sen. Honasan added.

The two senators paid a courtesy visit in City Hall yesterday morning before proceeding to San Roque where they were inducted as adopted sons of the barangay. They also graced the inauguration of a barangay project where they were joined by Mayor Lobregat and Congresspersons Beng Climaco and Erbie Fabian and Councilor Nonong Guingona. — Sheila Covarrubias