Mention of peace process in SONA fascinate Moro sectors PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 11:13

Local officials, sectoral leaders and peace activists in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao were fascinated with President Benigno Aquino III’s promise to put up by 2015 the Bangsamoro political entity during his state of the nation address Monday.

“We have no doubt the President is indeed sincere in dealing with Mindanao’s Moro people,” commented Ghadzali Jaafar, the vice chairman for political affairs of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Jaafar said the MILF is just as sincere in its now 16-year peace overture with Malacañang.

The peace talks, which began January 7, 1997, is now supported by foreign peace-building groups and international organizations, including the governments of Japan, Norway, the European Union, Malaysia, and other member-states of the pan-Islamic Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

The vice-governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, said President Aquino’s resolve to wind up his peace talks with the MILF before his presidency ends in 2016 was “vote of confidence” for peace brokers of the government and the rebel group.

“Talagang nasa tuwid na daan na tayo ngayon kung ang pag-uusapan ay ang Mindanao peace process,” Lucman said.

Tawi-Tawi’s newly-elected representative to Congress, Hadja Ruby Sahali, said she was elated with President Aquino’s mention of his visions of a peaceful Moro homeland in his SONA.

“The commitment was very explicit and very profound,” Sahali said, adding that even her younger sibling, Tawi-Tawi Gov. Nurbert Sahali, was just as fascinated with the SONA last Monday.

President Aquino said in his SONA that peace in the conflict-stricken south is within reach, urging Filipinos to contribute towards the successful establishment of the new Bangsamoro political entity in 2015.

“Umaasa po ako sa pakikiambag ng bawat Pilipino sa layunin natin para sa Bangsamoro,” he said.

“Ipakita po natin sa kanilang hindi sila nagkamali sa pagpili sa direksyon ng kapayapaan; handa tayong ipahiram ang lakas ng buong bansa upang i-angat ang mga probinsya sa Muslim Mindanao, na kabilang sa mga pinakamaralita nating mga lalawigan,” the President pointed out in his SONA, apparently referring to the Southern Moro communities.

Sahali, meanwhile, said she is certain re-elected Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., who is representing the fourth district of Quezon City to the House of Representatives, will also focus utmost attention on the decades-old Mindanao Moro issue.

“I voted for him during our election of a House Speaker because I believe in his leadership and I am certain he will give attention to the Moro communities in Southern Philippines,” said Sahali, former Tawi-Tawi vice governor, who had also served as social welfare secretary of ARMM from 2005 to 2007.

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, whose younger sibling, Datu Zajid, was elected representative of the second district of Maguindanao last May 13, said he and his constituent-mayors were certain of Belmonte’s re-election.

“We support his speakership of the House of Representatives. We are convinced that, as third highest elected official of the Philippines, Speaker Belmonte will help push the Mindanao peace process forward,” Mangudadatu said.

Mangudadatu said he grateful to President Aquino for having mentioned explicitly his support to the Mindanao peace process in his SONA.

“We can now look forward to a successful end to the GPH-MILF talks even before the Aquino presidency ends in 2016,” Mangudadatu said.