Malacañang has expressed optimism that the Mindanao peace process will be continued under the administration of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a radio interview on Saturday, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said they are happy with the incoming administration’s expressed willingness to push through with the peace negotiations.
“Lahat namang ng hakbang na hahantong sa pagpapatatag at pagpapatibay sa ating peace-building process ay dapat na bigyan ng suporta ng ating sambayanan. Lalong lalo na kung ito ay inisyatiba na ng papasok na administrasyon [All steps that will lead to the stabilization and strengthening of our peace-building process should be supported by our society. Especially if this is the initiative of the incoming administration],” Coloma said.
“Nakakagalak naman para sa atin na makita na sila ay masigasig din sa pagtataguyod ng prosesong pangkapayapaan. At sana’y lumawig pa ang mga pagsisikap na ito [We are delighted to see that they are also keen on pursuing the peace-process. Hopefully, these efforts would be expanded further],” he added.
Coloma issued the statement following Duterte’s meeting with leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) at a hotel in Davao City on Friday evening.
MILF chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim and his first vice-chairman Ghadzali Jaafar, as well as MNLF leader Datu Abul Khayr Alonto were among the key figures who met with the president-elect.
Alonto described the gathering as a “brother-to-brother meeting.”
He told reporters that the MILF and the MNLF have agreed to support Duterte’s proposal to shift to a federal form of government.
“A federal system could very well put in place a government of transparency and accountability, and effectively address the peace and order problems including drug trafficking and kidnap for ransom,” Alonto said in an interview.
“The president-elect has our commitment and our support, hindi sa salita, sa gawa. It’s high-time wag na yung mga salita-salita. All of the things we talked about, we have to do it,” Alonto added.
The MNLF chairman said it is time to accept that a “centralized form of government is a dismal failure” as it is the reason “why there is war in Mindanao.”
Alonto also said his group is still hopeful that the “good aspects of the Bangsamoro Basic Law will be retained,” and that the country will see the Bangsamoro as a federal state model.