The attack in Zamboanga City will not affect the government’s peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a Malacanang official said on Monday.
“We are going to negotiate with MILF. This will not affect the peace process,” Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.
Lacierda said the Bangsamoro agreement being hammered out by the government and MILF will ultimately lead to peace and development in Muslim Mindanao.
“We believe that the peace process that we have entered into with the MILF is a peace process for all of Muslim Mindanao not just the MI[LF],” Lacierda added.
The Aquino administration is in the final stages of negotiations with the MILF, which is expected to result in a Bangsamoro Political Entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Lacierda said representatives of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) were consulted on the said agreement.
“There were consultations on the ground by then chief negotiator Marvic Leonen and consultations continue to be done on the ground by the current peace panel,” he added.
Armed members of the MNLF swooped down on several villages in Zamboanga City before dawn Monday and took about 30 people as hostages.
Clashes between government security forces and the MNLF group left at least six people dead.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE