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Estrada says govt must stand firm in dealing with rebel groups

08/09/2008 | 05:29 PM

MANILA, Philippines — Former President Joseph Estrada warned the government on Saturday that the country could break apart if it continues with its policy of appeasement with the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Estrada said the prevailing tension in Mindanao only proves that his “all out war" policy against the more effective that President Gloria Macapagal’s appeasement policy.

He said the Arroyo government has no one to blame except itself for returning the 43 camps of the MILF that government troops seized when he declared an full-scale offensive against the separatist group in 2000.

“We had successfully overrun 43 camps of the MILF, including Camp Abubakar, but they (Arroyo administration) returned it to them. That is the main cause of our problem right now," he said, adding that the continuing secessionist movement and insurgency problem makes investors hesitant to business in the country.

“None of this would have happened if Malacaňang had followed through on my lead in rebuilding any and all attempts to cut up the Republic of the Philippines, and in restoring Philippine sovereignty in areas and camps previously claimed to be the exclusive domain of the MILF," he said in an interview.

Estrada said his declaration of an “all-out war" against fellow Filipinos had been one of the most difficult decisions he made in his short-lived presidency.

“But it was a necessary step in preventing further chaos in Mindanao and in pushing through with a genuine peace and development initiative in the region," Estrada said.

He said the Arroyo administration must be firm in its resolve to address the peace and order problem in Mindanao and must also be at all times transparent in dealing with MILF or any other rebel group.

“We all want peace, but at what price? There was no transparency, no respect for the people’s right to be informed about an agreement that would affect their future," he said.

He was referring to the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain between government and the MILF that was stopped by the Supreme Court. - GMANews.TV

This time I'll agree with MR. Erap. The government is not in the losing end here, any why all of the sudden give way to their Ancestral Domain demand? This is serious shit here..

No to the Ancestral Domain..No to expanded ARMM..


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