Aquino thanks Japan for support to Mindanao peace
HIROSHIMA—President Benigno Aquino III expressed his gratitude to Japan on Tuesday for its support to building lasting peace in Mindanao, looking back on that day three years ago when Japan hosted his historic meeting with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chair Murad Ebrahim that paved the way for a peace deal with the secessionist group.
“I sometimes wonder: if that meeting did not take place, where would we be today? Fortunately, that meeting, my first face-to-face encounter with my brother Chairman Murad, was a breakthrough. We gained each other’s trust—and the trust borne of that engagement was a positive turning point. It allowed us to move towards the realization of our shared aspirations,” Aquino said in his keynote address at the Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao (COP6).
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Research and Education for Peace, Universiti Sains Malaysia (REPUSM) organized the three-day COP6 event.
On March 27, the Philippine government and the MILF signed a peace agreement intended to end the decades long war that claimed hundreds of lives and displaced thousands of families.
Aquino took note of the symbolic importance of Hiroshima in every country’s quest for peace.
“The tragedy that was the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, seven decades later, only remind us the futile results of conflict, and impress upon us the collective responsibility we hold in defending the rights of our respective peoples to live not only without fear, but to live in a world where peace is a shared reality by all nations,” Aquino said.
“It is therefore fitting that we are gathered in this city consecrated to the principle of the preservation of peace, to discuss how the combatants of yesterday can become partners for the avoidance of future conflict,” he added.
After his speech, Aquino went to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park where he offered a wreath at the memorial cenotaph built in honor of the victims of the August 6, 1945 nuclear attack on Hiroshima.
It is said that more than 100,000 people were directly and indirectly killed by the atomic bomb dropped by the United States in Hiroshima during World War II.
The President returns to Manila on Tuesday evening.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.