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.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gov't. takes new approach in quest for peace in Mindanao

While ignoring calls for an “all-out war" against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Thursday said she is changing the “basic premise" of the government’s peace efforts by focusing on dialogues with the communities in southern Philippines.

Speaking before participants of the Second International Motor Show at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, Ms. Arroyo said that the government will reject the armed model as a means of achieving political and societal change and concentrate on genuine and sincere dialogues with communities.

“From negotiations, our focus shall shift to dialogue with the communities or government conducting authentic conversations or dialogues with the people. The focus of our talks shall shift from armed groups to the community. The parameters governing our negotiations shall be a balance between constitutionality and public sentiment," she said.

The President also introduced a new method of dealing with secessionist groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“Our engagements with all armed groups shall be about disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation or DDR," Arroyo said.

She added that the objective of the government’s peace process is to end all forms of armed rebellion in the country and place importance on its commitment to democracy.

“DDR is about the people and government telling armed groups to give up armed struggle. Change shall be defined primarily by the people and the government," she said.

Sought for comment, MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu dismissed the government’s plan as “unclear" and “unrealistic."

A report by GMA News’ JP Soriano over QTV’s Balitanghali quoted Kabalu as saying the MILF cannot do anything about the government’s decision except to wait for further developments and see if the new method will facilitate the attainment of peace.(Sophia Dedace, GMANews.TV)

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