Malacañang on Sunday belied claims that the government is lobbying for President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize in connection with its peace deal with leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Quoting Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government is only lobbying for passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
The leftist group Bayan claimed that it has received “credible information” that the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) is making the move in Norway in time for Aquino’s State of the Nation Address in July.
“No, we are not lobbying for President Aquino to get the Nobel Peace Prize. We are working for a just and lasting peace. Our only lobby is for the early passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” Coloma quoted Deles as saying.
“OPAPP has so much work to do on our various peace tables. The only prize we seek is the peaceful and just resolution of our internal armed conflicts,” he said.
In a separate statement, Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda noted, however, that there may be groups who wish to nominate the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), which is seen as a major development in ending the armed conflicts in Mindanao.
“During the Oslo Conference, Secretary Deles had occasion to meet Nobel Peace Prize winners, but there are no lobbying efforts,” Lacierda said.
“But please note that since Aceh, there has been no significant peace accord reached. Hence, it is possible that there are groups who do wish to nominate the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. But certainly, OPAPP is not lobbying for it,” he added
In a statement sent to media outfits, Bayan said Aquino is highly unqualified for such an award, pointing out human rights violations under his administration.
“The Nobel Peace Prize hits a new low with the nomination of Aquino, who uses the US-instigated counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan as a weapon of deception and repression,” the group added.
It also enumerated the human rights violations under Aquino’s four-year-old regime to include the militarization of peasant communities, 192 cases of extrajudicial killing, 21 cases of enforced disappearances and numerous illegal arrests, along with 400 political prisoners.
Moreover, Bayan said “Aquino fosters regional instability and tension with his support for the US military pivot and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement that allows the return of US bases and weapons of mass destruction in the country, and through his unqualified support for the rise of Japanese militarism and revision of Japan’s Peace Constitution.“
The group downplayed the efforts and effects of the signed peace agreement with the MILF, saying the agreement “only gives a deceptive framework for peace under the current anti-people government.”
Bayan, which the government has linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines, criticized Aquino for the scuttled peace talks with CPP’s political arm, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
It said the government has refused to honor previous agreements and the President “has opted to arrest NDFP consultants and wage all-out war in many areas in Mindanao, where several battalions have been deployed against civilian populations, resulting in forced displacement.”