Friday, August 16, 2013

Deles urges biz leaders to support Bangsamoro




Deles urges biz leaders to support Bangsamoro

Posted on Sunday, Aug 11th, 2013
Davao City – Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles on Friday called on business leaders in Mindanao to support the establishment of the Bangsamoro political entity by 2016, emphasizing that the influence of the business sector can help realize the envisioned region’s goal of fiscal autonomy.
“As the peace process is not the work of government alone, we call on you, the business leaders to journey with us, to be part of realizing the Bangsamoro’s aim to become self-reliant politically and fiscally by investing in its industries,” Deles told delegates, who are mostly key business leaders across Mindanao, during the 22nd Mindanao Business Conference held in this city.
“We urge you to keep an open mind, take the initiative to read up, and understand the Annexes. We need your support in lobbying for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, and convincing your colleagues in the private sector to regard Mindanao in a the shining light of its vast potentials,” she added.
Deles was referring to the developments in the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Last July, both sides signed the Annex on Revenue Generation And Wealth Sharing which seeks to fiscally empower the envisioned Bangsamoro region that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Earlier, the parties signed the Annex on Transitional Arrangements and Modalities, leaving only two remaining annexes – power sharing and normalization – which together with the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), will complete the comprehensive peace agreement expected to be signed before the year-end.
While the GPH and the MILF panels complete the remaining annexes, the Transition Commission is at work crafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which will pave the way for the entrenchment of the Bangsamoro. Once drafted, the Basic Law will be certified as urgent by the President, submitted to Congress for passage, and subjected to a plebiscite in covered areas.
Deles said having a peace deal in Mindanao would unlock the economic potentials of the region, known to be rich with natural resources.
“With lasting peace in Mindanao, the country stands to benefit the most, even as our  neighbors such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei with large Muslim populations, appreciate the  stability that this will bring within our shared corridors,” she pointed out.
“A resource-rich region unencumbered by conflict will open doors of opportunities for enriching relations, and greater trade and investment, as well as tourism collaboration among adjacent states. Having said this, we are most grateful for their continuing moral and diplomatic support to the peace process,” she said.
Deles explained that “peace negotiation is not all talk.  It is about political frameworks and building strong institutions for meaningful and responsive governance. It is about ending hostilities between the state and a segment of the population and opening up a process for the participation in the state and society of previously marginalized segments of the population,” she said.
“Political negotiation, in the long run, is certainly also about rational development: the integration of peace agenda into the plans of national, regional, and local government agencies; the transformation of erstwhile conflict areas towards peaceful, progressive and resilient communities,” she explained.
Deles, along with President Benigno S. Aquino III and other cabinet officials, were invited to give talks in the annual business confab as business leaders in Mindanao are preparing the island for the expected integration of economies among member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2015.
Deles said that aside from “its economic benefits,” the ASEAN integration could also help the sharing of peacebuilding lessons and conflict prevention in the region.
“Just as we look at the experiences of post-conflict Aceh in Indonesia, we are already sharing lessons from our peace process with Myanmar and Thailand. With peace at hand, we can now focus our attention in narrowing development gaps in our communities and sustaining the stability in the region as what the ASEAN integration clearly emphasized,” she said.
Deles admitted that there are a lot more to be done, however, the support of the public will make it easier for the ongoing talks with the MILF to achieve its main objective.
“There is no magic wand, no silver bullet that will instantly wipe out all the problems in Mindanao. But I’d like to think that we are working on the right formula for peace. I believe we have a future that is vigorous with possibilities. It will not be a perfect one, but it will be better than what we had some three to four years ago.”
“We have a President who has vowed to put the peace process at the forefront of his agenda, a leader whose ‘daang matuwid’ continues to gain credit for fuelling and sustaining our record-breaking economic growth. We have a vast pool of dedicated public servants and peace partners, and we have you the business leaders, diplomats, and ‘not so ordinary peace-loving citizens’ to make Mindanao central hub of regionalization, if not globalization,” she added. #





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