Saturday, November 22, 2014

Speech of Sec. Teresita Quintos Deles 17th Dela Salle-College of St. Benilde Model United Nations Closing Ceremony


Speech of Sec. Teresita Quintos Deles 17th Dela Salle-College of St. Benilde Model United Nations Closing Ceremony

Speech of Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
17th Dela Salle-College of St. Benilde Model United Nations Closing Ceremony
ARG Theater, College of St. Benilde

Thank you for this privilege.
I am grateful to join the vanguards of the Model United Nations in this gathering, especially our young awardees who are marked to eventually lead the ranks of the foreign service.  Congratulations!
I am informed that Saint Benilde was beatified in 1948 for serving God by doing common things in uncommon ways.  We extol him today as we strive with all our might to build one world on the firmament of peace.
I am glad we are celebrating the idea of a common heritage for sustainable peace and development. For our commonality is the moving force of this event, as we share one voice, one mind and one spirit to express our embrace of peace as the overarching force that shapes the future of humanity.
Peace is not merely the road to a better life, peace is life itself.
And this is not the peace that comes all of a sudden and out of nowhere. It is the peace that has been molded in our homes since we were children, nurtured in us by the grand experience of being in real communities and progressive societies—a peace carried forward by the strong will of nations, leaders and constituencies.
Ours is the peace that is founded on universal human security—cherished, held tight and defended by true fighters and believers —universal because it applies to each and every person who is brought to life on this earth, to each and every race and nation built upon the pillars of human freedom and dignity.
The world is changing in ways we have never imagined.
Progress and prosperity have grown by leaps and bounds, but so has the scourge of hunger and disease deepened amongst the poor.
Peace has evolved from conflict in many places, but new conflicts have also emerged out of contravening ideologies.
Climate change has only magnified the disparity among nations, in terms of capacity and material resources, to wage peace and development.
For every nation, the task has correspondingly become more complex and challenging, imposing the daily grind of sacrifice and toil that each and every one of us is called upon to bear for the sake of the common welfare.
Waging peace is not simply negotiating an end to war.
It is the endless effort to discover the tranquil  middle ground between a clash of cultures and beliefs; to test the limits of human tolerance, understanding and accommodation; and to explore the flexibilities that can be leveraged from the established rules of governance—the Constitution and the laws.
Waging peace is not only finding the harmonic chords that foster broader political and economic equality, but finding the right political and economic niches for those in dire need of better health, deeper knowledge, work, respect and dignity.
We know only too well that in facing these challenges, no nation is an island unto itself; and as the poet said: “We are all part of the main.”
And in bringing the world closer together for peace, foreign policy and strategy are indispensable tools of every nation.
I trust that in the past four days, you have learned to wield these tools in the manner of budding diplomats, negotiators, strategists and leaders.
You are our hope for the future!
In the case of Mindanao, our foreign policy has driven us to seek the working consensus of good neighbors, Malaysia and Indonesia, to push understanding and settlement forward.
We have leveraged on international  support to gather the best practices of the world behind our own efforts.
For many years, hundreds of meetings and roundtables, seminars and training sessions have been held in many countries on almost all aspects of the peace process—from culture and education, ceasefire monitoring and management, community development, governance capacity building, among other equally important fields.
We have called upon the great powers and institutions to pour in technical aid and resources, participate in crisis management and lend their trust and moral support.
The world has been a rallying force that has kept both parties—the government and MILF—committed to win the peace at all costs, as we have so won.
The world has stood unwaveringly behind President Aquino and his staunch leadership and ironclad will.
The somber pall has started to lift in the conflict ridden areas of Mindanao.
If you travel there today you will see more smiles on people’s faces as the burden of fear has slowly given way to the waft of confidence. You will see new farms being tilled and sown by former combatants who have left their guns for ploughshares. You will hear the shrill voices of children bustling in distant school grounds that were once evacuation sites.
Go there and experience the real signs of peace that are rising from the land.
Only last week we held the first Philippine Development Forum in the Bangsamoro in Davao City, where, led by President Aquino, we took up the first development blueprint of the entire region designed and written by the MILF.
The Plan is comprehensive, far reaching and inclusive. It is designed not only to bring former combatants into a life of normalcy, but bring whole communities to the edge of prosperity.
You would have been happy to be there in that forum, because it also featured the work of the international community in helping orchestrate the tasks of peace and development as a joint enterprise of the government and the MILF.
You would have been happy to know that both sides have agreed to become active players in the global stage by jointly taking the challenge of human development, gender, environment, and food security, among others.
The World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, UN and other friends and allies across the globe were there with us.
We recall the time, almost half a century ago, when we were in such despair of reaching an end to war.
Now the war is done, and national consolidation is taking its place.
We marvel at the pace at which events have been moving at speed.
We signed a historic peace pact with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) early this year. That agreement has been written into a piece of legislation called the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BLL). Our senators and representatives are currently deliberating on it. Consultations with stakeholders have been broad and deep—not solely within the confines of the legislature, but with the people in the provinces and islands across Mindanao.
The BBL—once passed by Congress and ratified through a plebiscite—shall give rise to the enhanced autonomous Bangsamoro region by 2016. A ministerial form of government shall be in place led by a chief minister, under the supervision of the President of the Philippines, under one Philippine Flag and within the ambit of our Constitution.
As the Philippine Congress is working on the BBL, the normalization process is underway. Normalization speaks of enabling conflict-affected communities in Mindanao to return to peaceful, productive lives.
International partners remain beside us in this effort of turning the climate of fear into a climate of enterprise.
The negotiating panels have formed an Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) tasked to conduct the phased decommissioning of MILF forces and weapons and put them beyond use. Together with four local experts, Brunei, Turkey and Norway complete the seven-member body.  Once the guns are gone, we shall have more abled bodied men and women to drive productivity and prosperity.
Aside from the IDB, other mechanisms are also in place to facilitate normalization, namely the Joint Normalization Committee; the Joint Peace and Security Committee; the Interagency Task Force tasked to transform MILF camps into peaceful and productive communities
The Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Committee, chaired by a Swiss national,  is meant to address legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people, correct historical injustices, and address human rights violations of the past.
No one shall be left behind in the march of inclusive growth and social justice—Muslim, Christian, and Lumad.
With its strategic location, the Bangsamoro shall play an integral role in regional trade and cultural exchange in the context of the forthcoming ASEAN integration next year.
The creation of the Bangsamoro foresees an influx of investments—propelling development, jobs, and social equity.
And, in light of the growing threat of Islamic extremism, the Bangsamoro will eventually help mop up the marginal pockets of terror that have aggravated the dark climate of conflict and strife.
All these developments have brought us within the cusp of shared security and prosperity in the Philippines, eventually transcending our borders and reaching out to the regional community, and even to the rest of the world.
Through the Bangsamoro, we shall not only restore meaningful and genuine autonomy, we shall restore the people’s trust in the strength of our Constitutional system.
In a sea of conflicts around the world, the Philippines shines as a “bright spot for peace.”
As future diplomats, you must carry the seed of peace to other nations and enable it to take root and grow.  A million others will join you in your noble quest.
Help us build a nation and a world where violent conflict is defeated under the weight of our common struggle, our common heritage.
Help us champion peace in the heroic and uncommon ways that only Saint Benilde would have done in his blessed life.
Help us win the peace. Because when peace wins, we shall conquer fear and poverty.
Thank you again, and Godspeed!

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