Beng reaffirms support for peace process but... PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 December 2013 13:09

Mayor Beng Climaco reaffirmed yesterday her unwavering support for President Aquino’s program for peace, particularly the ongoing peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“But we reiterate that the people Zamboanga City in two plebiscites, just a reminder, do not want to be part of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) or the Bangsamoro territory that the MILF is currently negotiating with the government,” Climaco said during a dialogue between officials of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) led by Secretary Miriam Coronel Ferrer and members of the City Council headed by Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde at the Sangguniang Panlungsod yesterday morning.

Despite the Moro National Liberation Front’s (MNLF) attack on Zamboanga City last September, Climaco still believes that Zamboanga, being a very influential and important part of Mindanao, needs to continue the dialogue with all other sectors that really want to be relevant to any efforts at attaining peace in Mindanao.

“The lesson that we have learned is very painful that up to now we are still reeling from all the difficulties. We know what it was and what it is, and we still feel the pain years onward,” the lady chief executive said.

According to her, the city of Zamboanga holds the GPH peace panel dearly that whatever actions, initiatives and programs it will have will really hopefully redound to a more progressive, a more participatory understanding of what is for Minadanao to forge peace.

“It it not peaceful when we say everything is okay, but there are disgruntled groups,” she said. “Time and again, as I have already said in congress that we just really have to patiently continue on dialoguing and that is what we have been doing in Zamboanga City,” she added.

“It might be in this particular term that we will try to contribute to what we call peace but definitely also we respect the voice of the people of this city and we will continue to strive for justice so that our children will have a better opportunity for a brighter future,” Climaco further said.

For her part, Sec. Ferrer shared with the mayor’s statement, stressing that learning from the lessons of the past is one of the guidelines that the President has given to the OPAPP.

“Learning from the past, lessons of the very recent past, the pain that Zamboanga continues to feel and the difficulties in rebuilding. This is something that is very paramount in all considerations that we are doing now in OPAPP,” Ferrer said. “The process is also participatory, transparent and of course within the constitution.”

She told the mayor and the councilors that “we are not negotiating independence; that’s overstepping the constitution, but the flexibilities of the constitution”. “Within these parameters we have been able to reach this stage where we are at the brink of completing the comprehensive agreement hopefully by January of February next year.”

Ferrer was in the company of former Agriculture Secretary Senen Bacani and NCMF Commissioner. Mehol Sadain.— Vic Larato