From the website of OPPAP
P-Noy, Murad underscore trust, sincerity in achieving gains in peace process
Posted on Tuesday, 12 February, 2013 – 07:33
The milestones achieved by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were made possible owing to the trust and sincerity that both sides have demonstrated to each other.
The President was accompanied by Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, Presidential Communication Operations Office Sec. Sonny Coloma, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Sec. Ricky Carandang, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles, Social Welfare and Development Sec. Corazon ‘Dinky’ Soliman, Education Sec. Armin Luistro, Transportation and Communication Sec. Jun Abaya, Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala, Mindanao Development Authority Sec. Luwalhati Antonino, Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Patricia Licuanan, Defense Sec. Voltaire Gazmin, Budget Secretary Butch Abad, and Health Sec. Enrique Ona. Also present were members of the peace negotiating panel, the highest officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police as well as officials and representatives of government agencies participating in the Sajahatra Bangsamoro program.
From the MILF side, Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim led his contingent composed of the members of the MILF Central Committee and the MILF peace negotiating panel. Hundreds of members of the MILF community also witnessed the ceremonial turnover of services and projects to selected beneficiaries.
“Alam ko pong hindi madali ang magbukas ng puso sa gobyerno matapos ang apat na dekadang pakikipaglaban (I know that it is not easy to open one’s heart to the government after four decades of fighting),” President Aquino stated.
“Ngunit nakita po ni AL Haj Murad: Ito na ang pagkahinog ng mga sakripisyo ninyo, ni Hashim Salamat na nauna sa kanya, at ng napakarami pang mga kapatid na dumaan sa pasakit upang makamtan ang kapayapaan at sapat na kalinga mula sa estado at gobyerno (But Murad has seen that this is the fruit of his sacrifices and that of Hashim Salamat, who came before him, and the many brothers who went through great struggle to attain peace and adequate care from the state and
President Aquino, who was known as the first president who has initiated a meeting with the MILF leader, has again made history by being the first president to have visited an MILF community.
For his part, Murad said they were “humbled by this grand gesture.”
“It is certainly a bold step for government to partner not with the usual institutions of government, but with one of its adversaries, in a remarkable journey to peace,” he stated. “We welcome the partnership between the government and the MILF.”
The MILF leader also said that it is the “repeated pronouncement of sincerity of the President that gives us solace in this difficult process.”
On the same note, Deles underlined that the “bridge of trust we have painstakingly built is strong enough to withstand the trials ahead no matter difficult they may be.”
“The trust is exhibited anew in a partnership with the leadership of MILF to immediately bring the benefits of peace to its combatants, their immediate families and communities, and those most vulnerable to conflict, particularly the internally displaced persons,” she said.
While the MILF welcomed the sincere gesture from the government to make immediate the dividends of peace, Murad cautioned “not to lose sight of the imperative and the challenges of the works ahead -that of achieving in the soonest possible time the signing of the comprehensive compact between the MILF and the GPH.”
Seeds of trust
President Aquino recalled his first meeting with Murad in Japan in August 2011 when the “first seeds of trust were planted” with the MILF. He likewise mentioned the historic signing in October 2012 of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) in which “the first fruits of our hard work became enshrined.”
“At ngayon po, ang ipinapakita natin sa pamamagitan nitong Sajahatra Bangsamoro program: Hindi na kailangang maghintay ng mahabang panahon upang madanas ang pagbabago; ang puwedeng simulan o ipatupad ngayon, sisimulan at ipapatupad natin ngayon (And now, we demonstrate that through this Sajahatra Bangsamoro program, there is no need to wait for a long time to experience change; we will start and implement what can be started and implemented now),” he said.
“Our goal: To accelerate the transition of MILF communities steeped in armed struggle, to a productive citizenry that buys into the national agenda, and contributes to our shared goal of equitable progress,” added President Aquino.
Likewise, Deles referred to the forging of the historic document which earned recognition and support from both the local and international communities.
“It was not so long ago when we are in a similar jam-packed event to witness a milestone in our history unfold,” she said. “The event, and the agreement, which we now referred to as the FAB for brevity, promised the dawning of beautiful mornings to wake-up to after the nightmares of violent armed conflict.”
“Ngayon po, ako ay nagising sa umagang kay ganda (Today, I woke up to a beautiful morning). A beautiful sunny morning full of happy anticipation to be part in yet another milestone in our peace efforts,” Deles stated stressing that the partnership between the government and the MILF “is what we are launching today.”
Sajahatra Bangsamoro is the President’s concrete, socio-economic peace initiative that aims to uplift the health, education and livelihood conditions of MILF communities towards realizing lasting peace and development for the Bangsamoro people and the entire country. It signifies the strong partnership between the government and the MILF as both work together in identifying beneficiaries and projects to address immediate needs of the people. #
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