No wars in Mindanao in 2009, says peace group

“The government cannot afford to lose P20 million a day to pursue the Moro rebels in the South.   Instead, it must focus on how the country will survive in the global financial crisis,” said Arnado in an interview over dxND. 

Arnado said there was no basis for the report about recent attacks allegedly launched by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the South as a prelude to a bigger war.

“There is no reason to believe the war is in the offing. I don’t think fighting the MILF in the South is the priority at this time by the government,” Arnado said. 

The fact, she said, that Malacanang has already created a new panel tasked to negotiate with the MILF “is proof the government wants peace instead of war.”

In another development, MILF civil-military affairs chief  Eid Kabalu said that if the government was serious in pursuing the negotiations, “the discussion should start where it ended.”

“The talks ended with the scrapping of the Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain.  It is just proper the talks should start there,” said Kabalu in an interview over dxND. 

“We don’t blame the GRP panel when it did not sign the document. They were just ordered to do so.  But the MILF is bent on discussing the issue again with the government,” said Kabalu.

The formal signing of the MoA-AD in Malaysia on August 5 last year was aborted when the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order which prevented the GRP panel from signing the document.

Malacanang later announced that it would not sign the document or any similar form in the future. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)

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