The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has expressed satisfaction over the direction and the national government’s commitment towards the continuing peace process in Mindanao as cited by President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III in his third state-of-the-nation address (SONA) on Monday afternoon.
Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chairman for political affairs, said Tuesday the President’s assurance that the peace negotiations will continue and that the decades-old Mindanao conflict is now nearing resolution have sent positive signals for the peace process.
“We’re praying to Allah that all these will be realized soon and result to a genuine and lasting peace here in Mindanao,” he said in a radio interview in Koronadal City.
Jaafar said the MILF remains hopeful that a peace agreement will eventually be reached with the Aquino administration following the success of last week’s formal exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Jaafar said these problems include the widespread poverty among the Bangsamoro people, lack of progress and development in their areas, their treatment as second class citizens and the lack of opportunity to govern their homeland based on their way of life.
“If the Bangsamoro problem is properly addressed and resolved, the Mindanao conflict will become history,” he pointed out.
Overall, Jaafar said the President has discussed a lot of positive developments in his SONA but stressed everything would still depend on how they will be implemented on the ground.
Citing the peace negotiations, he said its success will be determined by the seriousness of the President and the national government.
“If the KL (Kuala Lumpur) meetings will eventually be derailed again then nothing would happen to the peace process,” he said.
But for their part, Jaafar assured that they remain committed to the peace process and they will not make any action that would hamper the progress of the ongoing negotiations.
He reiterated the MILF’s commitment to strictly observe and adhere with the provisions of its standing ceasefire agreement with the government.