Chiz calls for ‘all inclusive’ Mindanao peace, dev’t plan PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 05 March 2016 13:13

Vice-presidential frontrunner Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said efforts to attain peace and development in Mindanao must be an “all-inclusive undertaking” where all stakeholders are consulted in the crafting of a comprehensive framework plan for the region.

Escudero said the search for a lasting peace in Mindanao must continue through a more inclusive and meaningful consultation with local government units, non-government organizations, indigenous peoples, religious groups and rebel groups, among others.

He said the next government should draw lessons from the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which remains pending with Congress mainly due to the failure of the proponents to consult with other stakeholders apart from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“Sa pagpapanatili ng kapayapaan sa Mindanao, importanteng makonsulta lahat ng stakeholders, hindi lamang ang MILF,” Escudero pointed out. “Dapat lahat ng nasa Mindanao ay bahagi ng konsultasyon dahil anumang plano para sa rehiyon ay hindi maisasakatuparan kung walang pagsang-ayon ng lahat o ng mas nakararami.”

According to Escudero, the next administration will have “a golden opportunity to plug the loopholes and address the defects of the proposed legislation that was initially designed to bring peace and economic development in Mindanao.”

Escudero said the future framework should be an improved version of the Malacañang-backed BBL drafted by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and endorsed by the MILF.

Aside from having “so many loopholes,” Escudero said the OPAPP version “did not carry applicable advocacies, positions and proposals of all stakeholders in the region.”

Escudero, who is running as independent alongside leading presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe, said a peace program must be coupled with increased government investments in Mindanao and fast-tracking of ongoing development projects in the area.

The veteran lawmaker said this is precisely the reason why he and Poe intend to allocate 30 percent or at least P900 billion of the national budget for Mindanao, should they get elected in the May 9 elections.

“Layunin namin ni Sen. Grace na maglaan ng 30 porsyento ng pambansang badyet para sa Mindanao. Ito ay para iparamdam sa Mindanao na hindi lang dapat Metro Manila lagi,” Escudero explained.

The Poe-Escudero tandem plans to establish “Gobyernong may Puso,” which is anchored on rapid and inclusive growth, poverty eradication and global competitiveness. — Dan Toribio Jr