Aquino: Framework peace deal to benefit business in Bangsamoro
MANILA, Philippines—President Aquino on Thursday ratcheted up business’ interest in the future Moro homeland Bangsamoro, saying it offers more areas for development, as he expressed confidence an “enduring peace” in Mindanao was within sight.
The President indicated that the framework agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front—which leads to the creation of Bangsamoro—would open many business opportunities, and the private sector could take advantage of these.
“It is more than an achievement for the government or the MILF—this is also one through which the private sector will benefit, as we may soon be able to explore more areas for sustainable development in Mindanao,” he said in a speech, referring to the framework agreement.
On Wednesday, Aquino said the Bangsamoro could be a future hub of BPO-IT companies.
Government officials and MILF leaders are set to sign the framework agreement—the so-called blueprint to a final peace agreement with the Moro rebels that hopefully would be sealed within the year—in Malacañang on Monday.
According to the draft of the agreement published in the papers Thursday, Bangsamoro’s core territory will be composed of the present geographical area of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
It will also include the municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal in Lanao del Norte province, and all other barangays (villages) in the municipalities of Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigkawayan, Pikit and Midsayap that voted for inclusion in the ARMM in the 2001 plebiscite; and cities of Cotabato and Isabela.
Also to be covered are contiguous areas where there is a resolution of the local government unit or a petition of at least 10 percent of the qualified voters in the area asking for the inclusion at least two months prior to the conduct of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law and the process of delimitation of the Bangsamoro.
The President said that the framework agreement would “seal a final and enduring peace’’ in southern Philippines.
“This will foster unity among us Filipinos, allowing us to take another great stride toward the realization of our dream of a peaceful, stable and equitably progressive country,” he said at the 38th Philippine Business Conference and Expo at the Manila Hotel.
Aquino said the principle that prodded his administration to initiate reforms in government was the same principle that inspired the framework agreement with the MILF.
“The foundation of all these reforms is our desire to empower Filipinos. This is the same desire that fueled the Framework Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which will seal a final and enduring peace in Mindanao,” he said.
In his speech, the President said the government was fast-tracking infrastructure development “to fully realize the status of the Philippines as a viable investment destination.”
On top of accelerated infrastructure spending, the government continued to invest in Filipinos through the conditional cash transfer and the expanded Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s program, he said. To match increases in the budget for basic education and state universities and colleges, the government has begun implementing K-12 program, the President said.
“Let me emphasize that these are not successes that government can claim for its own: all of you in business have worked as hard to help us secure the achievements we are so proud of today. You have believed in the sincerity of our reforms, and you continue to believe in the skills and abilities of the Filipino people—and this has shown itself in the ways you have contributed to our economic resurgence,” he said.
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