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Outgoing adviser hopeful of MILF peace

MANILA, Philippines, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Despite a breakdown in peace negotiations and a recent surge of violence on the Philippines' Mindanao Island, an outgoing adviser says future peace is possible.

Hermogenes Esperon, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's outgoing presidential adviser on the peace process, said Thursday he believes a peace deal is possible before 2010, the Philippine government reported.

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Esperon, the former Philippine armed forces chief of staff, said there are reasons to believe that new negotiations with the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front will result in peace in the southern Mindanao region.

"There are many indicators to show that we are headed toward that direction," Esperon said in a statement.

Arroyo recently named Avelino Razon to take over as new presidential peace adviser on the peace process. Thursday Razon officially took over Esperon's role.

Since the beginning of January Arroyo has called on MILF leaders and her government's representatives to jump-start the stalled negotiations and establish a plan for peace.

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