Press Release
February 5, 2010

Don't tie down hands of next president
Noynoy cautions gov't not to rush peace pact with MILF

LP presidential standard bearer Benigno S. Aquino III yesterday said the government should not tie down the hands of the next president by rushing an agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). A government who cannot implement a peace agreement should not be the one to conclude it, and at most should only ensure that the ceasefire is maintained and that the internally displaced peoples should be adequately taken care of.

"In less than five months, a new president will take over the reins of power. The most that this administration should do is to prepare the ground for the signing of a peace agreement," he told reporters in Davao City.

"The next president, whoever he may be, should be given the flexibility to deal with this long-standing conflict. He must not be presented with a done deal that he may not agree with, or that the people could reject," Aquino said. Even the Supreme Court has stated that one of the worst criticisms against the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) is that there was no proper consultations on the matter with various stake holders.

The LP bet was referring to a recent statement made by presidential peace adviser Annabelle Abaya that the government is looking forward to the signing of a peace agreement with the MILF before President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's term ends on June 30, 2010.

Abaya also said the peace talks will resume on Feb. 18 in Kuala Lumpur where both sides are expected to engage in substantive discussions on the proposals submitted last Jan. 27.

Aquino has called for a "broadly-supported just peace" to end the Muslim rebellion and decades of neglect for the "Moro and other peoples of Mindanao."

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