I would like to set the record straight on the matter of my tenure in government. I served as the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process under the Arroyo administration from September 2003 until my public resignation as part of the Hyatt 10 in July 2005. I returned to the same post under the Aquino administration in July last year. Given this timeline, I would like to give clarifications on the following points raised by Senator Francis Escudero in an interview yesterday.
An October 26, 2011 press release from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process: Dismissing news reports that President Benigno S. Aquino III gave P5 million to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that they used to buy guns and ammunition, as alleged by a malicious text message, Government of the Philippines peace panel chair Marvic Leonen clarified that the fund was intended to jumpstart the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute.
This is a time for maturity, a time for responsibility, a time for reason. It is my prayer that we can all come together in respectful dialogue as Filipino citizens to forge peace, no matter how difficult, complex, and trying this may be. The future of our nation and our people depends on our leaders having the courage to say “no to war.” We believe that peace in Mindanao is possible. We must all seize the current opportunity to walk on the path of peace. The alternative path is too horrible to comprehend.
Sobriety is called to fore in these trying times and patience should prevail to give peace a surviving chance.
An October 21, 2011 press release from the National Youth Commission: In light of the recent armed encounter in Basilan, the NYC expresses its sympathy to the families of those who died during the prolonged encounter that claimed at least 20 lives.
We learned today that the Western Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under the leadership of Lt. General Ferrer is filing ceasefire violations against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and murder and frustrated murder charges against their members for the death of 19 military soldiers.
We are saddened to receive news from Basilan about an encounter that started at 5:30 a.m. yesterday, October 18, 2011 at Sitio Bakisong, Cambug Village, Al-Barka town. This armed confrontation was not intended by both government and MILF. With the assistance of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as the ceasefire committees, we hope to be able to get a clearer picture of the causes of this incident.
An October 5, 2011 press release from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process: Following recent attacks on mining sites by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Claver, Surigao del Norte, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles said that these atrocities by the communist left have been making the peace process difficult.
An October 6, 2011 press release from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process: Representatives from different sectors gathered here recently to express their collective hopes for a peaceful Mindanao.
Peace talks are more difficult when there is no accompanying ceasefire on the ground. Hostile attacks such as the one conducted by the NPA yesterday in three mining areas in Surigao del Norte undermine people’s confidence in the peace process, creating a “disconnect” between agreements made on the peace table and what is happening on the ground.