Friday, July 26, 2013

Mindanao CSOs elated over P-Noy’s SONA; express support to Bangsamoro goal

From the Website of OPPAP

Mindanao CSOs elated over P-Noy’s SONA; express support to Bangsamoro goal Posted on Wednesday, Jul 24th, 2013

Manila – The 102-minute speech of President Benigno Aquino III during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday elicited positive reactions from Mindanao civil society groups who expressed joy over the progress in the peace process and support towards the goal of establishing the envisioned Bangsamoro.

"(This is the) best SONA ever for Mindanao and the Bangsamoro. Indeed this is our SONA,” said Atty. Mary Ann Arnado, secretary general of the Mindanao Peoples Caucus.

“Thank you, P-Noy for making us truly proud to be Filipinos. Mindanaoans are all behind you in your commitment to sign and implement the peace agreement," she added.

Sr. Arnold Maria Noel, board member of Balay Rehabilitation Center, said they “rejoice and thank P-Noy, who in his SONA, asked Congress to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law before the end of 2014.”

"This is a very clear sign that P-Noy really wants peace in Mindanao,” she added. “That statement showed that P-Noy certified as urgent and priority the Bangsamoro Basic Law. We are not only happy but we are also proud of having a President like P-Noy."

On the same note, Patricia Sarenas, chair of the Mindanao Coalition of Development NGOs Networks (MINCODE) and Caucus of Development NGOs (CODE-NGO), said she “was touched by the sincerity of our President.”

"I felt like crying when I heard that part of his SONA when he urged us all to help in this work for the Bangsamoro!” she stated. “Hearing him yesterday made me want to do more myself personally and with other peace advocates, and with MINCODE and CODE-NGO."

Arnado also called on the Transition Commission to begin its work on drafting the Basic Law that will pave the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in 2016. The draft law will be certified as urgent by the President and submitted to Congress before end of 2014 for passage. Once approved by legislators, it will undergo a plebiscite in the Bangsamoro covered territory for ratification as a law.

Further, she urged the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace panels to “sign first the peace agreement fast, soon and now.”

“I hope the next round of talks will be scheduled immediately after Eid’l Fitr,” said Arnado.

Sincerity in peace process

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles said that President Aquino’s SONA report showed how sincere he is in the peace process.

“He is truly a man of his word – standing by his commitments and never making promises his administration could not keep,” she stated. “Right from the beginning, the President has put the Mindanao peace process as the central pillar of his agenda, and he has worked relentlessly in realizing enduring peace and sustainable development in conflict areas along his “daang matuwid” principle.”

The peace adviser said that the gains in the peace process were made possible not by government alone. “We owe these to the individuals, communities and groups of various sectors who have initiated and collaborated in efforts that help find solutions to difficult issues that confront us.”

“We are expecting more milestones in the President’s next SONA. With the continuous support of our people, we know we can make it,” added Deles.

Meanwhile, government peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer stated that the “President’s statements show how consistently he had stayed the course in the peace negotiation despite its ups and down.”

She said that Aquino’s call for the 16th Congress on its formal inauguration to support the Bangsamoro Basic Law shows that the establishment of the Bangsamoro political entity is high in his priorities.

“We in the government negotiating team are truly inspired by the hard work and intense discernment that the president has shown to us in this process. We cannot but deliver the same commitment and the desired outcome: peace in Mindanao now. I am certain our good counterparts in the MILF feel the same,” she stated.

"This golden opportunity to seal the peace during the President's term is too good to let pass; too important to pass on the chance to next generation nor even to the next administration." # - See more at:

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