Thursday, October 20, 2011

Moro-Christian groups doubt President Aquino's peace efforts

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 20, 2011) - The Saudi-based Muslim-Christian Alliance for Justice and Peace in the Philippines on Thursday expressed doubts on President Benigno Aquino's sincerity in talking peace with rebel groups, saying that it already suffered a series of setbacks because of its "half-hearted" stance in pursuing peace talks.

Sonny Saleh Rivera, one of the conveners of the Alliance for Justice and Peace in the Philippines, said they were saddened by the recent clashes in Basilan province between government forces and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters that left 19 soldiers and five rebels dead.

"Eto na iyong resulta ng hindi sinserong usapang pangkapayapaan ng Aquino government at ng MILF pagkatapos maunsyami ang pag-uusap sa pagitan nila," Rivera, a native of Basilan province, said.

"Mataas ang expectations ng both sides at umasa pero ng naunsyami dahil sa kakulangan ng sinseredad sa pag-uusap, kaya iyong nangyari sa Basilan ay isang malaking set back sa peace efforts na hindi sinsero," he added.

Gerry De Guzman, the groups' co-convener, also said that the peace negotiations between the Aquino government and communist rebels was already hindered amid the indefinite postponement announcement made by the government peace panel chairman Alexander Padilla.

"Instead of clearing the way to peace, the government peace panel is sticking on its gun asking the other group to lay their arms so that it could continue talking peace while breaking its vow to work for the release of National Democratic Front consultants and other political prisoners and its continued refusal to honor previous agreements," De Guzman said.

Meanwhile, John Leonard Monterona, regional coordinator of the Migrante-Middle East, scored the Aquino administration for its failure to put a stop on extra-judicial killings of social and political activists whose latest victim was the Italian missionary Fr. Fausto Tentorio.

"Again, the usual suspects are military agents whose manner of extra-judicial killing operations were perfectly the same of previous victims," Monterona said.

He said Aquino, being the Commander-In-Chief, should root out the culture of impunity in the country.

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