MANILA -- The government admitted that it is virtually impossible to ink a final peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) under the outgoing Arroyo administration.

"We are aiming not necessarily for a final peace agreement because we cannot make commitments for the next government. We cannot make guarantees because some proposals require Constitutional change,” Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Annabelle Abaya said in a statement.

Abaya said that the government peace negotiating panel led by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis and the MILF are trying to thresh out differences on the peace draft to be presented to the next government.

For his part, MILF civil-military affairs chief Eid Kabalu said election fever is the prime reason for another delay in forging a final peace agreement.

“Should that will be the case, it is not surprising knowing that everybody is pre-occupied by the upcoming election,” Kabalu told Sun.Star in a text message.

Former government peace panel Vice Chairman and Mindanao State University professor Rodolfo Rodil said the observation “sounds realistic.”

Securing a peace accord with the separatist group is one of the legacies President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo wanted to leave before she bows out from power on June 30.

Experts say the peace pact would eventually end decades of in-fighting in southern Philippines. More than 120,000 people have died in repeated clashes with government troops that stalled economic progress.(Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)