SPEECH During the International Conference of Cotabato in Notre

During the International Conference of Cotabato in Notre Dame University, Cotabato City
By Sec. Teresita Quintos Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
6 June 2014
A peaceful afternoon to all. Assalamu alaikum.
Allow me to start by thanking the Community of Sant' Egidio together with His Eminence Orlando Cardinal
Quevedo, Archbishop of Cotabato, and the Muhammadiyah from Indonesia, for convening all of us for
this timely and important dialogue. The theme that you have chosen — ―Peace is Living Together‖ —
captures the very essence of what the Aquino administration aims to achieve through the peace process.
Ang proseso tungo sa kapayapaan ay para sa lahat ng Pilipino. Sama-sama tayong lahat sa pagsulong,
pagbantay at pagkalinga sa tunay at ganap na kapayapaan, dahil sama-sama rin tayong makikinabang
sa kaunlaran na kaakibat nito.
We all know that we cannot simply talk peace forever. We need to build the structures for it, and prepare
the communities for the transition from conflict to peace, while bringing down the barriers that have kept it
away. With the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro last March, all of these
components are not only possible, but very much within our reach.
Thus, the inclusive nature of and approach to the peace process in Mindanao and across other peace
tables is your theme personified. And I thank the European Union, the Italian Government, and the
Spanish Cooperation for supporting this historic Conference on Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue
for Peace.
Should I start with some updates? First, let me allay some fears and slay a few rumors about the socalled delay in the submission of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to Congress. Our political
road map is firmly in place and we are fully confident that we are installing a process which will ensure,
within an acceptable and doable time frame, that the BBL which will be enacted by Congress, will live up
to people’s expectations as a measure worthy of broad-based support, and one that is faithful to our
Constitution. In this regard, all parties concerned are striving to meet the standards set by the President
at the historic signing of the CAB for the BBL to be a law that is ―equitable, practical, and empowering and
which serves the interests of the entire nation.‖
Even as the draft submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) undergoes a thorough
process of review, the Office of the President’s legal team, as well as the Office of the Presidential
Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the BTC, as well as local governments in partnership with civil
society groups and the private sector have been conducting and supporting stakeholders’ dialogues and
consultations on the ground as well as on the level of national government agencies and of the ARMM
government, and even with the leadership and some members of Congress. Perhaps we should look at
what’s going on from a glass-half-full perspective: We have waited 17 long years for a mutually binding
and acceptable peace process with the MILF; and yet that has been achieved within three years of this
administration. We can be bold in taking a few more days, if not weeks, to ensure a more refined and
strengthened draft BBL to be stewarded by the leadership of both Houses of Congress through the
legislative process and thereafter for ratification through plebiscite.
President Aquino is determined to wield the democratic process to install the Bangsamoro as a partner in
ensuring common prosperity, collective security, and good governance in the four corners of our
archipelago. We in government, take our shared journey to peace through the Bangsamoro very
seriously. It is just as personal to us, as it is to all of you in this room. And the President has repeatedly
committed to wield his leadership and muster the necessary political capital to ensure the law will be
passed and that the law that will be passed will serve the welfare and interest of the Bangsamoro surely
but also of other areas in Mindanao, and of the entire Philippines.
Perhaps we should also be reminded that the political process is a major stepping-stone to the attainment
of something that is bigger than that process itself: a national vision and people’s aspiration for genuine
peace. Let me articulate that vision for you.
Through the Bangsamoro, we shall strengthen the politics of reconciliation and build an economy of equal
opportunity. No one – Muslim, Christian, Lumad or of any other faith – will be left behind. Each will enjoy
the benefits of good governance, social equity, and most of all, the rule of law, in a society of cultural and
religious diversity. This inclusivity is mirrored by how the BTC was formed, with representatives of
Muslim, Christian, and indigenous people appointed as commissioners. The envisioned Bangsamoro
ministerial government will also have allotted seats to ensure that diverse voices will be heard as part of
policy-making and good governance. The central government will always uphold its role to ensure that
unity in diversity flourishes, and that peaceful coexistence and shared prosperity shall be the norm in a
Bangsamoro era.
The good news is that even as we have yet to complete the political transition as defined in the
Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the work of implementing the Normalization Annex has
already begun and milestones along this comprehensive post-conflict track will also soon become
The good news is that even as we have yet to complete the political transition as defined in the
Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, economic gains are clearly on the horizon, and even in
the pipeline.
Last Wednesday, a high-level business delegation accompanied by no less than US Commerce
Secretary Penny Pritzker met with the President, and they expressed interest in putting up potential
investments in infrastructure projects for Mindanao. On the same day, ambassadors from member
countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation visited Bongao, Tawi-Tawi – specifically, a sample
of MNLF Peace and Development Communities (PDCs). They lauded the government of the Philippines
for its continued efforts to improve the lives of Muslims in Mindanao and likewise pledged to assist the
development efforts in every way possible and open to them.
Our neighbors in the ASEAN community are just as keen in bringing in technical assistance and financial
resources as investments in your region, with our immediate peace partner, Malaysia, inquiring into how
they can help promote the Philippines’ Halal Industry as well as Islamic banking. In our own backyard,
we have our own innovative and dynamic private sector, looking at the rise of the Bangsamoro as the tide
that will lift our economic conditions higher than ever before.
Together with the World Bank, the Government and the MILF have agreed to organize a Development
Forum on the Bangsamoro this coming September to be participated in by the international development
community and the private sector to bring forward, discuss, and facilitate the delivery of concrete and
immediate peace dividends for their investment and participation.
To witness such an outpouring of support and optimism from individuals, organizations, sectors, and
countries – all clearly invested in a shared interest to build a society founded on peace and unity – is both
encouraging and overwhelming.
Peace is ultimately about coexistence and inclusion. In no way is it a one-way street. Peace is for all of
us and, thus, requires a shared commitment from all of us, as well.
Today, this commitment is fully fleshed out in this diverse assembly. I see men and women of varying
levels of experience and expertise, of divergent faiths and ethnicities coming together yet again to secure
the peace that we all thought would elude this and future generations.
And yet, here we are. No longer just talking about peace but living in it and for it – together.
During this dialogue, let us open our minds and heart, and be generous in sharing what we consider our
most important needs and heartfelt desires in the Bangsamoro society that we want to shape. Conflicting
opinions and positions will arise, but that is what dialogue is all about. Amid such differences lie our
determination to identify the issues we need to address and iron out as a reconciled, if not united, whole.
Remember what Nelson Mandela once said? He had posted the challenge: ―Sometimes it falls upon a
generation to be great. You can be that generation.‖ What our forebears dreamt about, we now have a
duty to fulfill.
With that, I would like to end the way I began – with extreme gratitude to the organizers of this
Interreligious Dialogue and to every participant – thank you for keeping the faith, thank you for supporting
the peace process.
Salamat sa inyong mataimtim na pagmamahal sa bayan. Magsukol.
Related flashcards

24 Cards

Create flashcards