HIROSHIMA - President Benigno Aquino on Tuesday toured the facilities of the A-Bomb Dome and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, less than 2 months to the day the US dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city to end World War 2 some 69 years ago.
Aquino offered a bouquet of flowers at the Cenotaph of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
He came to Hiroshima to attend the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) International Conference on the consolidation for peace for Mindanao.
For Aquino, the trip is symbolic. It is a reminder of the worst that could happen when there is no peace.
"Whenever it seems that the path to peace is filled with so many obstacles, when our spirits are tested and our faith in the processes are shaken, those of us who are in a position to make decisions must remember what happened here in Hiroshima, in Nagasaki, and in the many places that have faced and are now experiencing conflict: If we falter, it is the innocent who will pay the ultimate price," he said.
Aquino assured conference participants that that his government will do its best to ensure there will free elections in the Bangsamoro in Mindanao in 2016.
It is a key component of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that the Philippine government signed with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to end the secessionist movement in Mindanao.
Early in his presidency, Aquino met with MILF chairman Al Haj Murad in Japan to reinvigorate the peace negotiations that ultimately led to the CAB.
The only thing left now is enacting a Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
However, the Aquino administration has yet to submit to Congress a draft BBL that will institutionalize the comprehensive agreement.