There is no higher priority than peace, no enduring legacy than justice—Akbayan

AKBAYAN Party today lauded the Aquino government’s resolve to pursue peace in Mindanao, particularly the administration’s recently concluded high level meeting with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Tokyo, calling it a ‘strong commitment for a just and sustainable peace in Mindanao.’

“There is no higher priority than peace, no enduring legacy than giving justice to the Bangsamoro cause,” said Akbayan Rep. Arlene Bag-ao, who hails from Mindanao.

Akbayan earlier supported the move of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III in synchronizing the ARMM elections to 2013 and appointing officers-in-charge.

“The ARMM election synchronization is a transition to a transition – that of putting in reforms in governance while firming up a peace deal before 2013,” stated Tom Villarin, Akbayan Mindanao Commission chairperson.

Akbayan, however, warned that striking a lasting peace agreement would not be a “walk in the park” as there are “spoilers” out to sabotage any deal with the Bangsamoro.

“We have to deal with vested interests who want a military solution to the Mindanao problem. Politicians who have vested interests in Mindanao will also oppose any peace deal with the Moro rebels,’ said Villarin.

Akbayan, however, is also cautious about heightened expectations and the need to have a strategic framework that will address poverty, marginalization and economic development for Mindanao especially at a time of an impending global economic crisis.

In1996, a peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front anchored on peace and development was signed but its implementation hampered by the 1997 Asian financial crisis and later an all-out war policy by succeeding administrations under Estrada and Arroyo. It also led to the incarceration of Chairman Nur Misuari who again rose up in arms over the failure of the peace agreement.