Press Release
March 12, 2010


Liberal Party standard bearer Noynoy Aquino on Friday said he will go the extra mile to achieve peace in Mindanao but vowed not to allow the dismemberment of any part of the region in any settlement seeking to end the rebellion there.

"The cycle of violence has bled our country and people for so long. Only a broadly-supported agreement will succeed in redressing decades of neglect and oppression of the Moro and other peoples of Mindanao," he said.

"While we will make every effort to achieve a comprehensive settlement, it will not be achieved at the cost of surrendering the Republic's sovereignty over any of its territory," the 50-year old senator from Tarlac said.

Aquino said it was unlikely that the current peace talks will move forward in the remaining days of the Arroyo administration, noting that the latest informal meeting in Kuala Lumpur between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) ended in a deadlock.

He would initiate peace talks with all rebel groups within 100 days of his administration, and work for a comprehensive settlement with the MILF and the CCP-NPA-NDF during his six-year term.

"There can be no meaningful development without peace. But let no one doubt my resolve to crush those who will continue to seek to impose their will on our people by force of arms," Aquino said.

The LP bet also decried the appointment of former peace adviser Jesus Dureza as chair of the newly-established Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

"He was one of the architects of the failed MOA-AD. This president is making sure that she will leave behind people loyal to her and whatever agenda she is bent on pursuing after June 30, 2010," he said.

The signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the government and the MILF was aborted in August last year after Mindanao officials challenged the proposed pact before the Supreme Court. The SC issued a temporary restraining order and later on nullified the MOA-AD as unconstitutional.

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