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PIA Press Release
2007/09/13

We must be a gov't that abides by what the courts of the land decide on matters of dispute - PGMA

Manila (13 September) -- "We live by the rule of law. We abide by what the courts of the land decide."

Thus stressed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Wednesday night as she addressed the Bishop-Ulama Conference (BUC) Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) –Philippine National Police (PNP) Peace Forum at the Rizal Hall of Malacanang.

In her 15-minute speech before the peace-making group, President Arroyo said "we must be a government that honors contracts and agreements that go through the required processes despite media attacks."

Saying she is "bound and determined to captain a steady ship," the President pointed out, that the government must abide by what the courts of the land decide on matters of dispute.

She hailed the BUC and dubbed it "the bastion of collective faith in our nation." This, because "in Mindanao, we have been able to meld together confidence-building measures grounded on strong interfaith dialogue under the leadership of the Bishop-Ulama Conference."

"You are 11 years old now and so you preceded all these fashionable advocacy for interfaith dialogue, and I was very honored that during the 60th anniversary of the United Nations, when the Philippines presided over the interfaith dialogue, I (had) a story to tell the of the Bishops-Ulama Conference and you have been doing all these years."

The President credited the BUC for the peace agreement that the government is about to have with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) saying she remains optimistic that the country can overcome the final barriers on ancestral domain that can give finality to the peace.

The President also lauded the AFP and the PNP as "representing our fighting faith in the war between good and evil."

"Our men and women in uniform are good upstanding and loyal patriots, fighting to protect our country everyday. We must respect their command structure and disclosure rules, which are indispensable for our security," she said.

Thanking the BUC-AFP-PNP for the peace covenant that was handed to her by Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, President Arroyo promised to "transform (the covenant) into action, on the premise that peace and development are twinned – one cannot exist for long without the other."

"I call on our leaders in public and private positions of responsibility, in civilian and military life to join, to continue joining, to continue to chart a course of investment in our people and economic growth," she said.

The President said her administration has "stayed focused on what the Filipinos yearn for most" as she noted that Filipinos are now "tired of political drama and social instability."

"We are entering a new era where the vast majority wants a predictable future, a steady job and a calm political climate. We are moving on as a nation. The people are concerned about maintaining peace, order and stability. We have been through many upheavals. The people deserve a stable government and economic progress. That is what they are getting now." (OPS) [top]

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