Press Release
July 30, 2012

Drilon pitches for signing of PHL-MILF peace pact

Senator Franklin M. Drilon today underlined the need to bring all conflicts in Mindanao to a permanent peaceful end so the government can implement more effectively socio-economic projects in the region.

Thus, Drilon encouraged government peace negotiators to speed up the signing of a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), saying it will address the decades-long problems of Mindanao, particularly the high poverty incidence and the poor infrastructures.

Also, the signing of the peace agreement will help solve delays in the implementation of infrastructure projects and fast-track government's efforts to boost and upgrade agricultural, tourism and commercial infrastructures in Mindanao, said Drilon.

Drilon explained the signing of the peace process will play a crucial role in the government's efforts to uplift the standard of living in the poor and conflict-affected areas in Mindanao, adding that provinces in the Autonomous Regions of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) were among the poorest in the country.

During the Monday's performance review of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), it was revealed that armed conflicts in Mindanao, particularly in ARMM, have caused delays in the implementation of critical infrastructure projects necessary to provide basic services delivery in the region.

Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson admitted his agency has been facing problems in implementing key infrastructure projects in ARMM because of peace and order problems.

"We are already encountering some peace and order problems in the ARMM areas that we're implementing. Remember the President has authorized us some P2.8 billion worth of infrastructure projects for ARMM alone, but we have been facing problems in terms of security, revolutionary tax and so on. With a good peace and order situation, we can implement more projects in the area," said Singson.

"It will be difficult for the DPWH to meet their targets for ARMM if the peace agreement is not signed. The peace agreement should help us meet our targets because non-peace agreement will certainly make it difficult to implement projects in the ARMM," stressed Drilon.

He noted that of the P165.6 billion 2013 budget of the DWPH, 26.4 percent of it, equivalent to P43.72 billion will go to Mindanao to ramp up the construction of roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects basically meant to strengthen Mindanao.

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