PRESIDENT Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III said Monday he will pursue talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the National Democratic Front (NDF), which he vowed will be free of "politics."
He said formal peace talks with the MILF under his administration will start after the Ramadan.
In his first-ever State of the Nation Address (Sona), which he delivered at the opening of the 15th Congress Monday, Aquino assured there will be no repeat of the "mistakes" committed by the Arroyo administration in dealing with the MILF that stalled the peace process.
"Iiwasan natin ang mga pagkakamaling nangyari sa nakaraang administrasyon, kung saan binulaga na lang ang mga mamamayan ng Mindanao. Hindi tayo puwedeng magbulag-bulagan sa mga dudang may kulay ng pulitika ang proseso, at hindi ang kapakanan ng taumbayan ang tanging interes," Aquino said in 36-minute Sona, which was applauded several times.
He insisted that lasting peace in Mindanao can only be achieved through the negotiating table where stakeholders discuss "genuine solutions" to the problem.
"Tungkol sa situwasyon sa Mindanao, hindi po nagbabago ang ating pananaw. Mararating lamang ang kapayapaan at katahimikan kung mag-uusap ang lahat ng apektado -- Moro, Lumad, at Kristiyano. Inatasan na natin si Dean Marvic Leonen na mangasiwa sa ginagawa nating pakikipag-usap sa MILF (Our view has not changed when it comes to the situation in Mindanao. We will only achieve lasting peace if all stakeholders engage in an honest dialogue: may they be Moro, Lumad, or Christian. We have asked Dean Marvic Leonen to head our efforts to talk to the MILF)," he said.
"Kinikilala natin ang mga hakbang na ginagawa ng MILF sa pamamagitan ng pagdidisplina sa kanilang hanay. Inaasahan natin na muling magsisimula ang negosasyon pagkatapos ng Ramadan (We recognize the efforts of the MILF to discipline those within its ranks. We are hopeful that the negotiations will begin during the first one hundred days of my administration as your president)," he added.
Aquino also said his administration is ready to continue the stalled peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front.
"Tungkol naman po sa CPP-NPA-NDF, handa na ba kayong maglaan ng kongkretong mungkahi, sa halip na pawang batikos lamang? (To the CPP-NPA-NDF: are you prepared to put forth concrete solutions rather than pure criticism and finger-pointing?)," he said addressing the communist movement. "Kung kapayapaan din ang hangad ninyo, handa po kami sa malawakang tigil-putukan. Mag-usap tayo (If it is peace you truly desire, then we are ready to call for an immediate cease-fire. Let us go back to the table and begin talking again)."
He said he is willing to declare a suspension of military operations against communist rebels once formal peace talks take place.
"Mahirap magsimula ang usapan habang mayroon pang amoy ng pulbura sa hangin. Nananawagan ako: huwag po natin hayaang masayang ang napakagandang pagkakataong ito upang magtipon sa ilalim ng iisang adhikain (It is difficult to begin discussions in earnest if the scent of gun power still hangs in the air. I call on everyone concerned not to waste a good opportunity to rally behind one goal for peace)," he said.
Aquino also used his first Sona to expose alleged mismanagement of taxpayers' money by the Arroyo administration.
He said Arroyo administration had allegedly depleted the 2010 national budget, leaving him with little room to address the nation's problems.
He said his new administration was left with P100 billion to be utilized in the remaining six months of the year.
"Nasa isandaang bilyong piso o anim at kalahating porsyento na lang ng kabuuan ang malaya nating magagamit para sa nalalabing anim na buwan ng taong ito. Halos isang porsyento na lang po ng kabuuang budget ang natitira para sa bawat buwan. Saan naman po dinala ang pera? (Of this, only PhP100 billion - or 6.5 percent of the total budget – can be used for the remaining six months of the current year. Roughly one percent of the total budget is left for each of the remaining month. Where did the funds go?)" he said.
Aquino said he will sign this week the executive order creating the Truth Commission -- an independent body that will investigate alleged corruption under the Arroyo administration.
"Nagsimula nang mabuo ang ating Truth Commission, sa pangunguna ni dating Chief Justice Hilario Davide. Hahanapin natin ang katotohanan sa mga nangyari diumanong katiwalian noong nakaraang siyam na taon (We have begun forming our Truth Commission, through the leadership of former Chief Justice Hilario Davide. We will search for the truth on the alleged wrongdoing committed in the last nine years)," he said. "Sa loob ng linggong ito, pipirmahan ko ang kauna-unahang Executive Order na nagtatalaga sa pagbuo nitong Truth Commission (This week, I will sign the first ever Executive Order on the formation of this Truth Commission)."(Nelson C. Bagaforo)