Diplomats laud Aquino government's economic gains, peace deal with MILF

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MANILA -- Members of the diplomatic corps on Wednesday lauded the Aquino administration for its economic gains and the peace pact it entered with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

 

 

During the traditional Independence Day toast in Malacañang, Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto, dean of the diplomatic corps, cited the Philippine government for the "excellent results" it has produced in the past year.

 

"We cannot forget, in fact, the most recent events in the institutional life of the country and the excellent results delivered by the Executive in the economic sphere, in view of an inclusive growth, by creating the employment opportunities and reducing poverty," Guiseppe said during the ceremonial toast.

 

"Also appreciated is the progress in the efficiency of public administration, improvements in healthcare and the education, as well as the efficient allocation of resources," he added.

 

Last month, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) reported that the Philippine economy grew by 7.8 percent during the first three months of 2013—the highest in Asia and also the highest under President Benigno Aquino III's watch.

 

On Tuesday, however, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said unemployment, particularly in the agriculture sector, worsened in April.

 

Pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) also reported last month that the number of Filipinos who experienced hunger in March grew to 3.9 million.

 

Peace pact with MILF

 

Guiseppe also particularly praised the Aquino government for being able to enter into a framework peace agreement with the MILF, considered as a big step in finally bringing peace to the war-torn Mindanao region.

 

"The journey towards the full implementation of the legal instrument, with the anticipated conclusion of the annexes, coincides with the path to a better understanding and intensification of dialogue between religions and cultures," the diplomat said.

 

Last October, the Philippine government and the MILF—the country’s largest secessionist group—inked a preliminary framework agreement that could potentially end the decades-old separatist insurgency in Mindanao.

 

The initial peace deal also provides for a Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

 

The peace panels of the Philippine government and of the MILF held their most recent talks in Malaysia last April to iron out details of the peace pact.