THE Aquino administration is studying the lifting of state of emergency in three areas in Central Mindanao following the Maguindanao massacre incident in November 2009.

President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III on Monday said they are now reviewing the status of order declared in Maguindanao, Cotabato City, and Sultan Kudarat.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Aquino would want to know whether the declaration will be automatically lifted when the term of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo expired.

“We didn’t agree with its imposition to begin with. That’s why I am awaiting for their output if there is a need to lift it or not,” Aquino told reporters following his first command conference in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Arroyo placed the three provinces under state of emergency last year to quell resistance after the gruesome Maguindanao carnage, which killed at least 57 people.

Former Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza, weeks before Mrs. Arroyo stepped down, said that the state of emergency will remain since violence is still present in the provinces.

The decision to lift the declaration was passed on to the current administration.

Aquino has yet to come up with his decision on the matter as he is dealing with other pressing issues on his two-week old administration.

One of the problems seen by the former administration in Central Mindanao was the continuing presence of private armed groups.

Aquino has yet to reveal his policies on dealing private armed groups but he had made it clear even before that he is also against the existence of the said groups.

In other developments, Aquino said he will rely on the advice of peace panel and Armed Forces in deciding which country he would allow to assist in dealing with rebel groups in Mindanao.

He declined to confirm if they will still allow Malaysian government to extend a hand in negotiation process.

“It might be them (Malaysia) it might be Indonesia, we will talk with them, with all these foreign countries as to who will assist, who's ready to assist,” he said adding that they will give liberty to foreign countries if they want to extend their assistance to the country or not.

The complete list of members of the two peace panels is expected to be completed this week, said Aquino. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)