UK, Canada welcome signing of PH-MILF preliminary peace pact

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President Benigno Aquino III gives a miniature figurine to Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim before the historic signing of the framework agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF at the Malacanang Presidential Palace on Monday. AP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – The British and Canadian governments on Monday welcomed the signing of the preliminary peace deal reached between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), saying that the agreement marked the “beginning of a new era for Mindanao and the Philippines.”

In a statement released by the British embassy, UK Charge D’ Affaires Trevor Lewis said that he believed that the strong levels of support for the agreement by both local and foreign representatives would help the process kick off to the “best possible start.”

“The signing marks the beginning of a new era for Mindanao and the Philippines as a whole.  The messages of support for the agreement over the last week and the diverse mix of representatives at the signing in Malacañang underline the widespread commitment to a more peaceful and prosperous future,” Lewis said. Lewis was one of the foreign dignitaries who attended the signing ceremony at Malacañang palace.

The signing of the peace deal was headed by President Benigno Aquino III, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and rebel chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim.

Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Christopher Thornley, meanwhile, also issued a similar statement recognizing the signing of the framework agreement, noting that  the deal would initiate a “process aimed at lasting peace, governance, and prosperity in Mindanao.”

“The diligent efforts of all sides, particularly the Government of the Philippines, bring the dawning of a new era of opportunities for the people of Mindanao, the people of the Philippines, and partners in the surrounding region,” Thornley said in his statement.

“Canada extends its best wishes to the members of the Transition Commission as they begin their work in developing the legal framework for the establishment of the Bangsamoro, and the full implementation of the agreement,” he added.

Under the framework agreement, a 15-member Transition Commission would be established to draft a law creating the Bangsamoro as the new Muslim-administered region to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

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