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PIA Press Release

Commentary: New peace paradigm combines soft and hard processes

by T. Villavert

Iloilo City (13 February) -- When hard power has not proven its value in achieving peace, the new model for dealing with the flashpoint areas in Mindanao has focused on a new combination of soft and hard power to promote peace.

This was noted by President Arroyo in one of her speeches in line with her commitment to advance the peace process in Mindanao this year to finally put an end to the decades-old conflict in Southern Philippines and bring about progress and prosperity.

The Malacanang press report disclosed that the President's new paradigm for peace includes an interfaith dialogue, authentic consultations with the communities, and the principles of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration for armed rebel groups.

The President will lead the consultation with the various peace stakeholders in the province. They include the communities that will be represented by the mayors, Bishop Ulama Conference, indigenous people, the church, among others.

Thus, she said there must be confidence-building measures grounded on strong interfaith dialogue and cultural awareness, investments, and basic infrastructure development.

According to the Malacanang press report Kidapawan City Mayor Rodolfo Gantuango said the involvement of the communities in the peace process will let them "feel more their responsibilities in achieving peace and security in their areas of responsibility". With the new paradigm for peace, the concerns of the people who are most affected, will be included in the shaping of any peace agreement," he stressed.

The 17 municipalities and one component city in the province of North Cotabato strongly support President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's new paradigm for peace in Mindanao, specifically the holding of authentic consultations with the communities, the Malacanang press report disclosed. (PIA 6) [top]

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