You can trust Mar Roxas, Palace tells MILF | Inquirer News

You can trust Mar Roxas, Palace tells MILF

MANILA, Philippines—There is no reason for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to be anxious about the effect the appointment of former Sen. Mar Roxas to Malacañang might have on the peace process, Malacañang said on Thursday.

“They shouldn’t be concerned because the peace process is going along fine,” said Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda in a Palace news briefing.

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Lacierda said Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles was on top of the peace talks.

“And as you know, (government panel chair) Marvic Leonen and his team have been meeting with the MILF on this matter (talks). And they’ve moved forward. There have been several meetings both formal and informal…. so there’s shouldn’t be any concern on their part,” Lacierda said.

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The MILF has expressed reservations about President Aquino’s impending appointment of Roxas as his chief of staff. According to MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, Roxas wasn’t supportive of the peace process.

Iqbal said Roxas was among those who were against the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the Philippine government and the MILF a few years back.

“Roxas was very instrumental in opposing the signing of the MOA-AD so we do not look at (his appointment) as a positive factor as far as the peace process is concerned,” Iqbal had told Manila reporters in a phone interview.

The MOA-AD would have given Muslim Filipinos more land and more autonomy over a large swath of Mindanao.

Lacierda said it was the Supreme Court, not Roxas, which junked the MOA-AD.

“It was the Supreme Court that recognized the unconstitutionality of the MOA,” Lacierda said.

Iqbal said Roxas showed “his real color that he was opposed to the real resolution of the conflict in Mindanao” when he actively opposed the MOA-AD.

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“The record shows that he is not really a supporter of the peace process. Maybe he can change this time, we do not know,” Iqbal said.

“I cannot advise the President directly because that is internal to the government but… Roxas has not had a very good record as far as supporting the peace process is concerned. I think the President should take that into consideration,” Iqbal added.

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TAGS: Conflicts (general), Mar Roxas, Mindanao peace process
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