Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Anwar urges Malaysia not to pull out peace monitors

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Friday called on the Malaysian government to resume its engagement in the International Monitoring Team (IMT) that keeps watch over the ceasefire agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

At a forum in Makati City, Anwar, former Malaysian deputy prime minister, said the Malaysian participation in the IMT had proved effective in keeping both sides calm as they continued to talk peace.

“The saying that they can fight fire with fire is not true in this regard. That is why we in the opposition have come out very strongly to call on the Malaysian government to resume its participation in the peace monitoring team in Mindanao,” Anwar told an audience of students, professors and diplomats at the RCBC Plaza in Makati City on Friday.

Kuala Lumpur is set to complete a total pullout of its monitoring team from Mindanao by September.

Anwar said the Malaysian government could express “strong views to Manila” so long as it re-engages in the "multilateral effort to reduce skirmishes in the region.”

“It has been proven that the team has helped, and it is unfortunate [for Malaysia] to ignore that importance and therefore withdraw,” Anwar said.

Anwar, who is here for a two-day visit, was guest speaker at a forum on Islam and peace organized by De La Salle University Graduate School of Business.

On Thursday night, former Speaker Jose de Venecia hosted a dinner for him at the Pangasinan lawmaker’s residence in Makati City.

The dinner was attended by former President Fidel Ramos, Senate President Manuel Villar and former National Security Adviser Jose Almonte.

Also present were De Venecia’s wife, Gina, Ibrahim’s wife, Azizah, and Villar’s spouse, Las PiƱas Rep. Cynthia Villar, as well as some foreign diplomats and civil society members.

De Venecia said he, Ibrahim and Villar agreed to press for a “global Christian-Muslim and interreligious dialogue” to help resolve the political and religious conflicts in many parts of the world and to call for the focusing of Asian resources on making possible the massive production of rice.

Ibrahim and De Venecia praised Saudi King Abdullah and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s former president, for the ongoing meeting of Sunni and Shiite leaders in Mecca.

The dialogue, they said, could represent a “religious breakthrough and set an example for beleaguered nations like Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine that are plagued by deadly fighting among Sunnis and Shiites, the two rival camps within Islam.”

De Venecia said those present at the dinner also agreed to join forces in calling for the passage of an Asia-wide legislation that would seek to have governments provide state subsidies to political parties to stop or reduce political corruption and “money politics,” and prevent traffickers of illegal drugs from financing political candidates who endanger good governance.

They further agreed that Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia and South Asia should develop a disaster response capability, backed by funding and manpower and working with the United Nations, to undertake emergency missions such as the massive relief operations following the earthquake in China that killed over 80,000 and rendered more than two million homeless.
De Venecia had earlier presented these proposals at the International Conference of Asian Political Parties, the Asian Parliamentary Assembly and the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly.(By Tarra Quismundo, Norman Bordadora, INQ.net)

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