The government admitted today that to attain lasting peace in southern region, it has to address the systemic and institutional causes of rebellion.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. made the statement when asked if the government was relieved on the reported death of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) commander Habier Malik, considered as the bravest and fearsome warrior of the MNLF-Misuari faction and led some 300 rebels in last year's Zamboanga siege.
"What we are looking at is the entire peace process and we are looking at institutions or organizations, not on certain individuals," he said.
Coloma said that for the peace process to be effective, the government must pinpoint the sources of discontent among the people of Mindanao.
The official said that Malacanang, the presidential palace, has yet to get confirmation from the military regarding Malik's purported death.
The MNLF signed an autonomy deal with the Philippine government in 1996, but the guerrillas aligned with Misuari did not lay down their arms and accused the government of reneging on a promise to develop Muslim regions.