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Home Community RP Government Updates UN Praises RP Government's Humanitarian Efforts in Mindanao
UN Praises RP Government's Humanitarian Efforts in Mindanao PDF Print E-mail
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Communities - RP Government Updates
Tuesday, 09 September 2008 14:13
The United Nations headquarters in New York reaffirms its support of ongoing Philippine government efforts to end the conflict in Mindanao and provide humanitarian relief assistance to communities affected by the current hostilities in the region, this was relayed to reporters today by the Philippine mission to the UN.


"The United Nations appreciates the continuous and proactive support of the Philippine Government to humanitarian efforts in Mindanao and understands the military's concern over the safety and security of humanitarian relief workers," the UN statement said.


The UN was clarifying newspaper reports emanating from the Philippines which claimed that assistance to persons displaced by renewed clashes in Mindanao was hampered by a so-called "food blockade" in Lanao del Norte province instigated by military authorities.

 

The UN-New York statement said that its local resident commission in the Philippines had reported that an isolated case of "food blockade" did occur while government troops were checking on assistance bound for evacuation centers in Mindanao.

 

There have been reports of anti-government rebels starving after weeks of hiding in the jungles eluding pursuing government troopers.

 

The incident was only one in a series of successful relief operations undertaken jointly by the Philippine government and the UN called "Action for Conflict Transformation for Peace."

 

The UN statement said that the UN Resident Commissioner had clarified the issue.

The UN "did not experience any difficulties or challenges in delivering food to the distribution centers. Dispatches of food support for displaced families have been unhampered amidst recent hostilities and increased security precautions being taken by UN staff and its cooperating partners."

 

According to the Philippine mission in New York, the UN said it would continue to coordinate closely with the authorities at both the national and provincial levels in carrying out its humanitarian relief assistance, especially disaster coordinating councils and social welfare offices.

 

The news report (not PNA's) from Koronadal City said that aid agencies in the area had accused the military of putting up food blockades.

 

But the newspaper story said that Philippine Brig. Gen. Jorge Segovia, acting chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) command center, denied the existence of food blockade.

 

Segovia was quoted as saying, "There was no food blockade. We want to ensure the safety of anybody involved in the relief operations. In fact, they can go through provided they have coordinated with the Disaster Coordinating Councils (DCCs) so that everything will run smoothly." (PNA)

 

* * * * *

 

PGMA's Message on the 108th Anniversary of the Philippine Civil Service

 

"Republic Service – Kabalikat ng Bayan sa Panahon ng Paghamon" Civil Service

 

"Our faithful civil servants have been behind every stride, every challenge and every triumph that we have faced as a people, tirelessly working to provide service to the people and working to realize the dreams and aspirations of an entire nation through the different programs and projects that they are entrusted to implement."

Economy


"A strong and growing economy has been the central pillar we have labored together to create to help ensure peace, order and stability in our country. And it is paying off -- our economy is more resilient today than ever before. We have created almost seven million jobs in seven years. Investments continue to come in despite continued volatility in the global markets. As a result of our economic turnaround, we are also able to invest in key sectors to cushion the harsh impact of high prices for food and fuel on our poor."

Investments


"In addition, we are investing in modernizing infrastructure like roads and bridges on an unprecedented scale. We are also investing in expanded education, healthcare, and other social services. All the while, we are balancing these vital investments with a commitment to meet our fiscal obligations and balance our budget in 2010."

Full text of speech available at http://www.op.gov.ph/speeches.asp


* * * * *

Message of the President

 


In September 1996, the government and the Moro National Liberation Front signed a peace agreement that sought to end warfare in Mindanao. Because of this, we observe every September as National Peace Consciousness Month. We are committed to doing everything possible to bring lasting peace to Mindanao and end 40 years of fighting that has killed more than 120,000 people. It is in the interest of all Filipinos, Muslims and Christians, to end the violence that has held that part of our country back. Mindanao can be a bread basket for the country if everyone will support the essential elements to any lasting peace. We remain committed to the peace process in Mindanao.

 

We have negotiated in good faith with our Muslim brethren to keep the peace these last seven years and to also forge a lasting peace for generations to come. And much progress was made on all fronts until violent elements within the MILF decided to take the law into their own hands. That will not stand. Our confidence was shaken by the wanton violence perpetuated by elements of the MILF. We will not negotiate with a gun pointed at our head. Innocent civilians should not be terrorized for crass political gain. We can restart the dialogue when the area is secure, and our people are safe, and responsible elements in the MILF regain control.

 

We have refocused all peace talks from one centered on dialogues with rebels to one of authentic dialogues with the communities.

 

The violence must stop, order must be restored, peace must be our goal. There is no room for wanton violence against innocent civilians. Calmer voices and cooler heads in the MILF must prevail before renegade elements spin further out of control. Continued fighting and war is no alternative to a lasting peace. The Government is on the side of peace and needs the support of Filipinos, Christians and Muslims alike, if this opportunity for peace is to be realized and if the country is to prosper.

 

We must now secure peace, order and stability in the region and then reassure all the people that we can then move ahead with any broad-based discussion on the peace process. This includes bringing relief to affected refugees and victims, and bringing to justice those purveyors of violence.

 

Only through a lasting peace agreement will Mindanao realize its true potential and its promise as a major contributor to its own economic future and that of the country.



(signed)

GLORIA M. ARROYO

 

* * * * *


President: Violence in Mindanao Must Stop, Order Must Be Restored, Peace Must Be our Goal


The country marks this month the 12th year of the peace agreement between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) amid a new rash of atrocities perpetrated, this time, by a splinter group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) pushing a secessionist agenda.


In her message to the nation on the observance of September as the National Peace Consciousness Month, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said that “violence must stop, order must be restored, peace must be our goal. There is no room for wanton violence against innocent civilians.”


The peace agreement between the government and the MNLF was signed in Sept. 1996.


The President pointed out that her administration is “committed to do everything possible to bring lasting peace to Mindanao and end 40 years of fighting that has killed more than 120,000 people.”


Her message focuses on her new paradigm on the government’s peace negotiations with the MILF and other armed groups.


“It is in the best interest of all Filipinos, Muslims and Christians, to end the violence that has held that part of our country back,” she said.


The President rued the missed opportunities as a result of the prolonged hostilities in Mindanao which have held hostage the progress and development of the region once dubbed as the “Land of Promise.”


Mindanao can be a bread basket for the country if everyone will support the essential elements to any lasting peace. We remain committed to the peace process in Mindanao,” she said.


The Chief Executive said that the government has talked peace with the Filipino Muslims in good faith and much progress has been achieved on all fronts “until violent elements within the MILF decided to take the law into their own hands.”


“Our confidence was shaken by the wanton violence perpetuated by elements of the MILF,” the President lamented, as she stressed that, “We will not negotiate with a gun pointed at our head. Innocent civilians should not be terrorized for crass political gain.”


She said dialogue in search for lasting peace will resume when the area of conflict is secure, our people are safe and responsible elements in the MILF regain control.


“We have refocused all peace talks from one centered on dialogues with rebels to one of authentic dialogues with the communities. The violence must stop, order must be restored, peace must be our goal,” the President said, as she expressed her hope that “calmer voices and cooler heads in the MILF must prevail before renegade elements spin further out of control.”


“Continued fighting and war is no alternative to a lasting peace. The government is on the side of peace and needs the support of all Filipinos, Christian and Muslim alike, if this opportunity for peace is to be realized and (if) the country (is) to prosper.”


“We must now secure peace, order and stability in the region and then reassure all the people that we can then move ahead with any broad-based discussion on the peace process – this includes bringing relief to affected refugees and victims and bringing to justice those purveyors of violence,” the President told the nation.


* * * * *


PGMA sends Secretary Ermita to Geneva to Represent RP in GDAVD


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has appointed Executive Secretary Eduardo R. Ermita to represent the Philippines in the first Review Summit of the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development (GDAVD) on Sept. 12, 2008.


This was announced yesterday by Ermita himself during his weekly briefing with Palace reporters. He said that while in Geneva, he would hand over a letter from President Arroyo to President Pascal Couchepin of the Swiss Federation reiterating the country’s strong support for the said Declaration which the Swiss Government initiated in June 2006.


As this developed, the President has named Press Secretary Jess Dureza as acting Executive Secretary and Presidential Spokesman in concurrent capacity.


During the Summit proper, the Executive Secretary will present the Philippines Country Statement focusing its efforts to give full form and substance to the GDAVD which the country endorsed in May this year. “For indeed, our country goes way beyond token affirmation of international instruments for peace and development,” he said.


“In presenting our Country Statement, I will underscore the broad parameters guiding government policies not only in the peace process, internal security operations, and law enforcement, but also on developmental interventions,” Ermita told Palace reporters.


He said such parameters, which conform to the GDAVD, involve (1) the recognition that armed conflict is anathema to human development, (2) the imperative to address the root causes of insurgencies by way of a comprehensive peace process, and (3) the adoption of an expansive mode of conflict prevention and reduction – one that encompasses full respect for human rights, accountability of state security forces, arms control, and strategic development programs and projects.


Secretary Ermita said during the Geneva Summit, he would affirm the country’s continuing full adherence to the Declaration by drawing attention to the following facts:


First, the Philippine government, fully aware of the social, economic and political coats of armed conflict, remains committed to conflict management by way of peace-making and peace-building.


Second, our government is determined to provide timely, sufficient, and comprehensive development assistance to conflict-ridden areas and to sustain development interventions in aid of post-conflict rehabilitation.

Third, our government, which gives adequate democratic space for the expression of political sentiments, shuns the use of violence in dealing with dissents, including terrorism. From our political history, we have learned that repression intensifies resistance and attendant violence. Instead, we affirm the positive impact of sustainable development in effectively addressing the roots of conflict.


Ermita also noted with gratitude the continuing role of foreign institutions and agencies, such as the United Nations Development Programme, in supporting the Philippine government along this track, including the country’s successful fulfillment of its 15-year commitment under the Millennium Development Goals for 2000 to 2015.


And fourth, our country applies itself to addressing the worrisome availability and proliferation of small arms and light ammunition, which exacerbate civil strife and sectarian violence; and in this regard, it pays particular attention on choking the commerce of such instruments of death.


Apart from the Summit on the GDAVD, Ermita will be meeting with international organizations, such as the Geneva-based Henri Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, one of the key players in the Summit and reliable partner of the Philippine government in Peace and Development efforts in Sulu.


There will be likewise the opportunities for the Philippine deletion to attend some of the pertinent presentations and discussions at the 9th Session of the Human Rights Council which began on September 8 and which will end on September 23, 2008.

 

* * * * *


AFP assists in relief operations for IDPs


Zamboanga City -- The military is working hand-in-hand with the local government units, non-government and international organizations for the smooth conduct of relief operations for the benefit of displaced victims of the violence instigated by the lawless groups of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).


Major Gamal Hayudini, acting commander of the 4th Civil Relations Group, said that the AFP is doing its best to alleviate the sufferings of the people in Mindanao, especially those who were displaced and forced by the MILF attacks to temporarily settle in evacuation centers.


He disclosed that relief operations are proceeding smoothly as planned with close coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other government agencies.


Hayudini said the military is working together with the PNP and other law-enforcement agencies and all other peace-loving organizations that genuinely care for the people to thwart the lawless MILF groups and ensure the free flow of food for the evacuees.


"The military will continue to fulfill its Constitutional mandate of protecting the people. Those lawless MILF groups who continue to violate the laws of the Republic of the Philippines and seek to undermine the peace process shall be pursued relentlessly," Hayudini said.


He said the AFP is fully conscious of the need to be an active partner with other government agencies and local and international NGOs to assist the displaced persons. The military, he added, is deeply concerned with the welfare of the residents.


He said that the soldiers will not stop until the groups lawless MILF Commanders Bravo and Umbra Kato are behind bars.

 

Sent by the Philippine Consulate General

3600 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 500

Los Angeles, CA 90010

Tel. (213) 639-0980

Fax (213) 639-0990

Website – www.philippineconsulatela.org

 


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