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PIA Press Release

Commentary: Fighting terrorism through economic dev't

Tacloban City (August 21) -- The Arroyo Administration continues to fight terrorism through economic development, the principal weapon in the pursuit of peace and progress in Mindanao.

The President, in a statement stressed that economic development which is drawn from the arsenal of democracy, remain as the government's principal weapon against terrorism.

The ongoing peacekeeping operations against rearguard actions of a despised and defeated group are meant to clear the path for these provinces' (Sulu's and Basilan's) journey to peace and progress which terror has delayed for so long, the President said.

During the meeting of the National Security Council on August 14, the President enumerated her Administration's unrelenting efforts to forge lasting peace with justice, harmony and security for all Mindanaoans and the rest of the Filipino people.

These efforts the President enumerated include the fast-tracking of projects and programs for infrastructure, health, housing, livelihood, farming and fisheries upgrading, and Muslim education and culture in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The measures which the President mentioned are over and above the protection of civilians in battle zones, strict adherence to ceasefire parameters, and the harnessing of all sectors and international support for peace and development initiatives.

The President said it right when she said that it is imperative that "we all work together without selfish politicking to preserve the peace we have achieved so far and to advance it toward a final agreement and the massive development that will follow.

The military is just a small component of the solution of peace to Mindanao. It must be clarified that the troops being sent to the two provinces are not necessarily for offensive but for stability and to enforce the gun ban. It must also be said that a separate AFP engineering brigade will be dispatched to Basilan as was earlier stationed in Sulu.

Indeed, there is a need for more intensive development efforts and positive action for Muslim communities, in order to settle the conflicts in Mindanao. (PIA 8) [top]

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