DISMANTLE private armies, end poverty, and continue peace talks are among the things the government should do to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao, said the presidential candidates during a debate Sunday, April 24.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said private armies should be eliminated as they are the ones contributing to violence in Mindanao.

For Mar Roxas, the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) should be passed.

"Maaasahan po natin ang kapayapaan kung tayo ang mamumuno. ginagawa na po natin yan at ipagpapatuloy natin yan sa Mindanao," he said, stressing the government has been pushing comprehensive agreement to end the conflict in the country's south.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte agreed with Roxas, saying nothing will appease the Moro people if the BBL will not be passed.

"Islam was already planted firmly in Mindanao before Magellan came...Kinuha ng mga Espanol ang Mindanao, which was already Islam...So we have to talk and correct historical injustice" Duterte said.

"We have to talk. we cannot fight forever. Moros are willing to talk," he added.

But Senator Grace Poe said peace talks must include all groups.

"Ipagpapatuloy ko ang usaping pangkapayapaan pero dapat kasama ang lahat, hindi namimili ng iilang grupo lamang," she stressed.

She said she is open to declaring all-out war for terrorists in Mindanao who are not willing to settle the conflict, but there must also be "all-out development."

Vice President Jejomar Binay vowed to address poverty in Mindanao, stressing it is the cause of all conflict.

"Ang pinagsisimulan ay kahirapan...Hindi makakaisip na humiwalay sa ating bansa kung hindi dahil sa kahirapan," he said.

He again stressed that he is a decisive leader, and that peace in Mindanao will be achieved under his administration if he will be elected as president. (LMY/Sunnex)