Aquino hopes Bangsamoro agreement can promote peace in ASEAN

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President Benigno Aquino III hopes the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro will serve as a model to other countries dealing with separatist groups

SEALING PEACE. The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front sign the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which President Aquino hopes will serve as a model for peace in ASEAN. Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines – Amid ongoing tensions between ASEAN countries and China, President Benigno Aquino III expressed hope the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) could help promote peace in the region.

Aquino said the agreement contributes to ASEAN’s growing experience in promoting a culture of peace and “adds to the body of experience that can inform conflict-resolution practices in ASEAN moving forward.”

“Included in our work to establish a strong, stable, and peaceful ASEAN Community is the task of building on the values and best practices of our institutions in addressing intra-, inter-, and regional conflicts,” Aquino told ASEAN leaders in Myanmar on Sunday, May 11.

“Peace is a fundamental concern of all nations; sharing best practices then allows us to address problems and challenges more comprehensively.”

More specifically, the President said he hopes the CAB will serve as a model to other countries dealing with separatist groups.

“Peace in any part of the world redounds to the benefit of all. As peace in the Bangsamoro lays the foundations of stability, inclusivity, and progress in Mindanao, more doors of opportunity are opened – for the people of Mindanao, for the entire Philippines, and for partners and friends who wish to contribute to development,” he said.

After 17 years of negotiations, the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) finally signed a Comprehensive Agreement on March 27 for the establishment of a new autonomous political entity called the Bangsamoro.

Peace promoting efforts

Aquino also took the opportunity to thank ASEAN countries who helped ensure the signing of the peace pact, especially Malaysia, which was responsible for facilitating the negotiations between the government and the MILF.

Brunei and Indonesia were crucial as well in the finalizing of the CAB, as members of the International Monitoring Team.

In line with the Philippines’ desire to promote peace in the region, the President also discussed the Philippines’ hosting of the first Symposium of the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation last April, which he said “set out to establish ASEAN’s experiences and best practices on peace, conflict management, and conflict resolution.”

“Our shared commitment must go beyond research and capacity-building. Efforts must be directed towards consolidating the narratives of peace in our region, and distilling its lessons to forge a consensus and to institutionalize habits of peace-building,” he said.

“We believe that documenting ASEAN’s wealth of experience in conflict resolution and preventive diplomacy can guide all of us in building a stronger, more peaceful, and more stable ASEAN Community,” he added. –

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