Press Release
October 7, 2012

Drilon: Peace pact with the MILF key to addressing poverty in Mindanao

Senator Franklin M. Drilon today welcomed the forging of a framework agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which he said would pave the way for a final and lasting peace and will open doors of opportunities for much-needed livelihood and socio-economic programs in the entire Mindanao.

Drilon, a former justice and executive secretary, also lauded the government and the MILF for exercising transparency and consultations with the stakeholders in forging a peace agreement.

"The negotiations, in my view, are characterized by transparency and proper consultations with the people of Mindanao which are very essential for a peace pact to be fully and effectively implemented," said Drilon, who, in 2008, brought to the Supreme Court the signing of Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain as it lacked transparency and violated the Constitution. The Court declared it unconstitutional.

He also echoed the invitation of the President to the Filipino people to examine the agreement and to participate in public discourses before the signing of the agreement.

"The problems of Mindanao, particularly the high poverty incidence and the poor infrastructures, have been aggravated by the decades-long insurgencies and armed conflicts in the region. They could not be addressed successfully if a peace accord is not signed by the government and the MILF," stressed Drilon who also served as a consultant to the peace process during the administrations of the late President Corazon Aquino and former President Fidel Ramos.

"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," he added.

He also said that even 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.

He noted that under the proposed P2.006-trillion 2013 national budget, P258.4 billion has been allocated for Mindanao. In 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 uplift the condition of Mindanao.

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