Bangsamoro peace deal to play key role in ’15 ASEAN integration PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 February 2014 13:09

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles pushed for broad-based support for the Mindanao peace process saying that the Philippines is at a threshold of shared security and prosperity, up to the regional community, and perhaps the whole world.

In her speech before members of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, Secretary Deles noted that the Philippines is next door to countries with the largest Muslim constituencies in the world.

“The Bangsamoro will form part of our front door to regional trade,” Deles said.

She also shared five scenarios to highlight the strategic importance of the government’s peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in relation to national economic growth and regional security:

1. President Aquino, with his “tuwid na daan” policy, has strengthened the ramparts of constitutional democracy through the restoration of the institutional checks and balances in the Republican system, a relentless fight against corruption and a strong push for inclusive growth and social justice. The Bangsamoro falls squarely within the ambit of these ideals.

2. The Philippines is preparing to join the ASEAN community coming up next year. Hopefully, the Bangsamoro, with its strategic location in sourthern Philippines, will be an integral part of that community.

3. Mindanao is the locus of severe climate change events. The peace agreement dovetails with the needed impetus for political stability, consolidation and cooperation among all communities – Christian, Muslim and Lumad – in meeting the challenge of climate change.

4. The Philippines is on a continuous trend of steady GDP growth. The inception of the Bangsamoro comes at a most auspicious time as an added booster to the national economy.

5. Successive reversals have now tightly constricted the global threat of Islamic extremism, transforming the threat to isolated, localized and homegrown terrorist cells.  The same is true for some parts of Muslim Mindanao, which the Bangsamoro will eventually clear of extremism and terror.  This will be the core contribution of the Bangsamoro to national security and the security of the entire region.

In reference to climate change, the presidential peace adviser stressed that the Philippines would be hard put in dealing with climate change and conflict in Mindanao at the same time.

“National peace of mind is a precious treasure,” Deles said. “We must listen to those who have spent whole lives in the arena of conflict – waking to the sound of cannons at dawn, cobbling their loved ones in evacuation tents at day, and being pounded by nightmares of death in the night – to appreciate the value of what we have achieved,” she added.

The Secretary pointed out that while gains have been achieved in the Mindanao peace process, there are still enormous difficulties that lay ahead.

“Spoilers still abound. There are those who will persist in their own agenda for self-serving or ideological reasons. They shall be dealt with through means of political consolidation or limited security operations,” Deles said.

President Aquino’s chief peace adviser also confirmed that the administration expects a rigid scrutiny of the prospective Bangsamoro Basic Law in Congress.

“We shall fight for the bill with utmost transparency and professionalism, and with only the national interest in mind. In this, we have the full support of the national leadership,” she said.

The presidential peace adviser closed her speech with an appeal to the media:

“We ask for the principled support of the media in our quest of a just and lasting peace.  We cannot cover all the imaginable bases to a home run, we will never be able to anticipate all the pitfalls in this hard journey. Please help us with your wise counsel and fair reporting.”