President Benigno S. Aquino III's Speech on the Framework Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
Malacañan Palace

07 October 2012

 
Dalawang henerasyon na po ang lumilipas mula noong magsimula ang hidwaan sa Mindanao. Isang siklo ng karahasang umangkin sa buhay ng mahigit isandaang libong Pilipino—hindi lamang ng mga kawal at mandirigma, kundi pati mga inosenteng sibilyang dumanak ang dugo dahil sa alitang puwede namang naiwasan.

Marami na pong solusyong sinubok upang matapos ang hidwaang ito; nakailang peace agreement na po tayo, ngunit hindi pa rin tayo umuusad tungo sa katuparan ng ating mga pangarap para sa rehiyon. Nabigyan ng poder ang ilan, ngunit imbes na iangat ang kaledad ng buhay sa rehiyon, nagbunga ito ng istrukturang lalo silang iginapos sa kahirapan. Nagkaroon ng mga command votes na ginamit upang pagtibayin ang pyudal na kalakaran; naglipana ang mga ghost roads, ghost bridges, ghost schools, ghost teachers, at ghost students, habang tumaba naman ang bulsa ng iilan. Nag-usbungan ang mga warlord na humawak sa timbangan ng buhay at kamatayan para sa maraming mamamayan. Umiral ang isang kultura kung saan walang nananagutan, at walang katarungan; nawalan ng pagtitiwala ang mamamayan sa sistema, at nagnais na kumalas sa ating bansa.

The ARMM is a failed experiment. Many of the people continue to feel alienated by the system, and those who feel that there is no way out will continue to articulate their grievances through the barrel of a gun. We cannot change this without structural reform.

This is the context that informed our negotiations throughout the peace process. And now, we have forged an agreement that seeks to correct these problems. It defines our parameters and our objectives, while upholding the integrity and sovereignty of our nation.

This agreement creates a new political entity, and it deserves a name that symbolizes and honors the struggles of our forebears in Mindanao, and celebrates the history and character of that part of our nation. That name will be Bangsamoro.

We are doing everything to ensure that other Bangsamoro stakeholders are brought in to this process so that this peace can be claimed and sustained by all. Sovereignty resides in the people, and consistent with the constitution, a basic law will be drafted by a transition commission and will go through the full process of legislation in Congress. My administration has pledged to supporting a law that will truly embody the values and aspirations of the people of Bangsamoro. Any proposed law resulting from this framework will be subject to ratification through a plebiscite. Once approved, there will be elections.

This Framework Agreement paves the way for a final, enduring peace in Mindanao. It brings all former secessionist groups into the fold; no longer does the Moro Islamic Liberation Front aspire for a separate state. This means that hands that once held rifles will be put to use tilling land, selling produce, manning work stations, and opening doorways of opportunity for other citizens.

National government will continue to exercise exclusive powers of defense and security, foreign policy, monetary policy and coinage, citizenship, and naturalization. The Constitution and lawful processes shall govern the transition to the Bangsamoro, and this agreement will ensure that the Philippines remains one nation and one people, with all of our diverse cultures and narratives seeking the common goal. The Filipinos of Bangsamoro, on the other hand, will be assured a fair and equitable share of taxation, revenues, and the fruits of national patrimony. They will enjoy equal protection of laws and access to impartial justice.

We have gotten this far because of the trust extended to us by Al Haj Murad and his Central Committee, and the members of the MILF negotiating panel led by Mohagher Iqbal. They recognized our administration’s sincerity, and our shared principles and aspirations. Together, we traversed the distance between us until we finally met in a handshake and an embrace as fellow citizens of the Philippines.

We would like to thank the government of Malaysia, who stood as facilitators as we realized our aspirations for peace; we thank in particular Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohammad Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, whose commitment remained firm despite considerable political and personal risk. We would also like to thank the members of the International Contact Group: the governments of the United Kingdom, Japan, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, and also international nongovernment organizations like Conciliation Resources, the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, the Asia Foundation, and Muhamadiyah. Our people are also grateful for the help of the International Monitoring Team composed of the governments of Malaysia, Brunei, Libya, Norway, Indonesia, the European Union and Japan. We would also like to thank the United States, Australia, and the World Bank, among several other countries and institutions, have also provided invaluable support during the course of this process.

None of this would have been possible without the tireless efforts also of Secretary Ging Deles, Dean Marvic Leonen, his negotiating panel, and their dedicated staff at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. There can be no better example of true peace advocates.

This framework agreement is about rising above our prejudices. It is about casting aside the distrust and myopia that has plagued the efforts of the past; it is about learning hard lessons and building on the gains we have achieved. It is about acknowledging that trust has to be earned—it is about forging a partnership that rests on the bedrock of sincerity, good will, and hard work.

The work does not end here. There are still details that both sides must hammer out. Promises must be kept, institutions must be fixed, and new capacities must be built nationally and regionally in order to effectively administer the Bangsamoro. The citizenry, especially the youth, must be empowered so that new leaders may emerge.

Sa mga susunod na araw, ilalathala ang balangkas at mga prinsipyo ng kasunduang ito sa mga pahayagan; makikita ang kabuoan nito sa Official Gazette ng ating pamahalaan. Inaanyayahan ko po ang lahat na makilahok sa pampublikong diskurso ukol sa kasunduan, bago magkaroon ng pinal na pirmahan. Nakalahad po ang lahat, at wala kaming tangkang magkubli o maglihim. Sinuri po namin nang maigi ang kasunduang ito; balanse ang ating naabot. Itinatama nito ang mali, at naglalagay ng mga mekanismo upang hindi na maulit ang nangyari sa nakaraan.

Basahin po sana natin ang kasunduang ito hindi bilang “sila” at “kami,” kundi bilang nagkakaisang “tayo” sa ilalim ng bandilang Pilipino. Tapos na po ang panahon ng hindi pagkakaunawaan, at kung iisipin natin ang kapakanan ng isa’t isa, oras na lang ang usapan; oras na lang bago matapos ang karahasan; oras na lang bago maabot ang normalidad sa buhay ng mga Pilipinong nasa Bangsamoro.

Umabot tayo sa puntong ito dahil sa tiwalang pumalit sa pagdududa. May mga hamon pa po tayong kakaharapin, at hinihimok ko ang bawat Pilipinong naghahangad ng kapayapaan: Gumawa po tayo ng paraan upang lalo pang lumawak ang tiwala sa mga araw na parating. Manganganak ito ng sunud-sunod na tagumpay. Tuloy-tuloy ang magiging pag-abot ng istabilidad; damay-damay ang buong bayan sa pag-unlad ng isang bahagi ng Pilipinas; dire-diretso tayo sa katuparan ng ating mga pangarap.

Alam po ninyo, may edad na RIN ako, at mas may edad po nang kaunti sa akin si Al Haj Murad. Darating ang panahong pareho kaming wala na sa poder. Nagkakaisa po kami sa hangaring magpamana sa susunod na salinlahi ng mas mabuting situwasyon sa mga bahagi ng Mindanao na matagal nang pinupunit ng hidwaan. At dahil po sa kasunduang ito, puwede na kaming mangarap: Malapit na ang panahon na kapag may dayuhang bibisita sa Pilipinas, kasama ang mga lalawigan ng Bangsamoro sa listahan ng kanyang pupuntahan. Malapit na ang panahon na ang gustong magbakasyon sa Pagudpud, puwede na ring sa Sulu magpunta. Magiging pareho ang kaalaman ng kabataang papasok sa eskuwela, sa Quezon City man o sa Lamitan; pumunta ka man sa ospital sa Pasig o sa Patikul, magagamot ang iyong karamdaman; lalago ang iyong negosyo, sa Marikina o sa Marawi ka man mamuhunan.

Ang tagal pong naging imposibleng isipin ng mga ito. Pero napatunayan natin: Walang imposible sa mga handang magkaisa, makiambag sa mga solusyon, at kumilos tungo sa pagkakasundo. Sa wakas, naabot na natin ang kapayapaang pundasyon ng ating mga mithiin para sa Bangsamoro, para sa Mindanao, at para sa buong Pilipinas.

Maraming salamat po.

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