Beng reaffirms city’s support to peace talks PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 July 2013 13:53

Mayor Beng Climaco yesterday reaffirmed the city’s whole hearted support to the ongoing peace negotiations between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other secessionist groups to ensure greater opportunities of unity and understanding.

However, as the city’s chief executive, Climaco said she takes the stand of her predecessors—former Mayor and now District I Representative Celso Lobregat and the late Mayor Maria Clara Lobregat—that is, to stand firmly for the exclusion of the city from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and to oppose vigorously any proposal to include the city within the coverage or make it the capital of the ARMM in its present or modified form and by whatever name.

Climaco emphasized that Zamboanga City is strategically and centrally located serving the needs of the different areas in Western Mindanao to include Tawi-tawi and Sulu. It is a highly urbanized city that plays a significant role in the economy of the neighboring areas of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.

She called on the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to ensure that while negotiations are ongoing, no atrocities will be committed for reasons that certain groups or sector are left out in the negotiation table.

“Zamboanga City supports peace but we will never allow our inclusion in the ARMM in whatever name or form because we are a highly urbanized city”, she said. “The peace initiatives of PNoy should really benefit the children of Mindanao and ensure that the parents have means of livelihood to prevent further crimes from being committed by a father or a mother”.

President Aquino in his state of the nation address last Monday highlighted the status and accomplishments of the on-going MILF-GPH Peace Process or Talk between the Bangsa Moro Liberation Front and Philippine Government stressing that peace in Mindanao will soon to be attained.

“Peace is also within reach in a region that has long been torn apart by conflict. In October of the previous year, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro was signed. In truth, just nine days have passed since the signing of the second annex of the agreement. We are confident that we will not have to wait long before hearing more good news on the development of the peace process,” the president declared.

He called on Congress to have the Bangsamoro Basic Law approved before the end of 2014 to allow the government ample time to prepare for the election of a new Bangsamoro government come 2016.

The Transition Commission that will craft the Bangsamoro Basic Law has already been created. —Sheila Covarrubias