24 June 2014
“My administration will work doubly hard to ensure that free, peaceful, and democratic elections for the Bangsamoro government will take place come 2016,” President Benigno S. Aquino III said in his keynote address at the International Conference on the Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao (COP6) held in Hiroshima, Japan.
Reminiscing the time since that fateful night in August 2011 when President Aquino covertly met with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim together with the MILF members in Japan, it has ushered in a new hope that gave peace talks a renewed start between the government and the MILF.
“It is by working together to boost the capacities of the people of the Bangsamoro that we can truly enable them to succeed, and show them that peace, stability, and harmony — whether in Mindanao or in the wider international environment — are both possible and sustainable. This can be done if we can harness trust and friendship towards a reasonable, mutually beneficial consensus,” the President said.
President Aquino also acknowledged the support of the Japanese government not only in providing the venue for the meeting to take place in 2011, but also its continuous aid to uplift the lives of Filipinos through development projects of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
To date, JICA has reached 6.6 billion pesos coursed through the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) which aims to improve human resource development, formulation of development plans and implementation of community development projects.
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