Roxas: Peace must be in line with the national interest

Sunday, August 31, 2008 | posted in , , , , , , | 0 comments

Peace can never happen when the country is torn into pieces.

In a meeting with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines today, Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas stressed that lasting peace in Mindanao must be pursued in line with the national interest and by a sincere government.
Peace must be pursued in line with the universal interest of all Filipinos—whether Muslim, Christian or Lumad. Peace cannot happen with disunity, with a people partitioned according to race or belief,” he said.
And this peace must be pursued by a government that rules with the consent of the governed, that gives all citizens equal protection under the law. But what has happened that lead to our quandary right now is due to a government that tends to fragment our nation rather than lead it to one common aspiration,” he added.
Roxas lamented that with its recent acts, the government has shown either gross incompetence or something else: a gross disregard for the common interest.
This government has managed to divide and fragment our nation through the years, and now by bungling on the peace process with the MILF. Ineptness and impatience prevailed, and deception to all—Muslim, Christian or Lumad—was employed to pursue an invalid memorandum of agreement with the MILF,” he said.

And the result: more than a hundred innocent lives lost and more than 200,000 evacuees struck by hunger and disease,” he stressed.
The government, Roxas said, must accept responsibility for its actions and bring the peace process back on track, following Constitutional standards and transparency.
It must, first of all, bring all lawless elements to justice. All those who violate human rights and rule of law—be it MILF splinter groups or other vigilantes—must be brought to justice. The government must smother Mindanao with the rule of law,” he said.

The MOA between the government and the MILF must be torn apart, and we want the Supreme Court to do so through a definitive decision so it will no longer be used as leverage in peace negotiations and diplomatic discourse. On the part of the government, it must revamp the peace panel now,” he added.
Roxas advised the government to implement the rule of law forcefully and equally, with no ethno-linguistic or religious prejudice. Else, the scenario of conflict will escalate when civilians start taking the law into their hands.
If the government fails to strengthen its presence in Mindanao now, it will eventually have to go in between the crossfire of warring vigilantes,” he said.

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Kevin Ray N. Chua

Kevin Ray N. Chua is a 19 year-old blogger from Cebu City, Philippines and an IT Student at Cebu Institute of Technology.

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