Celso reiterates stand on peace talks in Duyog forum PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 22 August 2011 13:28

Mayor Celso Lobregat, Saturday stressed anew the city’s stand on the peace process which is set to resume today, August 22 in Malaysia between the government panel and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“We are all here because we want a just and long, lasting peace in Mindanao”, the mayor said in his message during a peace forum held as part of Duyog Mindanao, a peace campaign initiated by the Mindanao Peace Weavers, Initiative for International Dialogue and Peace Advocate Zamboanga calling on the participation of citizens in the peace process.

Mayor Lobregat said the city’s opposition to the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) in 2008 was primarily because it was not within the bounds of law and was done without genuine consultations. 

The mayor at the height of the MOA-AD issue, was the only non-lawyer chief executive who was given the privilege to speak before the Supreme Court in opposition of the MOA-AD.“The reason why we defended our position in the Supreme Court was because of peace. We want a just and long lasting peace that is achieved thru genuine consultations and that would not require the dismemberment of the Republic of the Philippines”.

The Mayor also read before the hundreds of audience the letter he wrote to Prof. Marvic Leonen, Chairman of the Government Panel Negotiating Peace with MILF reminding the latter of the panel’s commitment to consult with the people of Zamboanga before the government’s counter proposal is submitted and finalized.

Lobregat also read Pro. Leonen’s response assuring that the panel remains true to its commitment and that Zamboanga’s sentiments and concerns aired during the May 17 meeting between the panel and the city government officials were considered in the government’s position that is set to be submitted today.

“We were surprised but we are very appreciative that our President is “going out of his way” for peace in Mindanao. It shows that he cares about the situation here in Minadanao. However, if there would be any agreement that would result in the peace talks it should be within the framework of the 1987 Constitution”, Mayor Lobregat declared.

He continued, “The MOA-AD should not be used as reference point since it was already declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.” He is hopeful that the peace talks will be successful and that it would respect the sentiments of the people thru transparency and genuine consultations.

Present also during the event as panelists were, Western Mindanao Command Chief Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer, WMSU President Dr. Grace Rebollos and MPW-IID Executive Director Augusto Miclat Jr., who earlier in the day paid a courtesy visit on the mayorci together with the 28 peace runners of the Duyog Mindanao. 

Meanwhile, the runners who are participants in the Solidarity Run Sunday morning were from Bohol (21), Digos (3), Dumaguete (2) and one from Davao and Cotabato city each.

The Solidarity Run kicked-off from the city’s grandstand. The runners stopped over at the Peace Monument at Sta. Maria for a prayer before they will be running to Cotabato City within 11 days.

They were joined by local runners and bikers who joined them until Curuan.
Miclat said the runners will do some stop-overs to conduct forums and consultations before heading to their final destination.

At the conclusion of the courtesy call, Lobregat and Miclat exchanged tokens of appreciation. Aside from the iconoc vintas, the Mayor also handed over a DVD copy of the documentary entitled In Defense of Zamboanga, Mindanao, the Constitution and the Republic. — Richard Aliangan/City Hall PIO