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PIA Press Release

PAZ pushes for peace-anchored development in Mindanao

by Mimi G. Bern-Edaga

Zamboanga City (February 13) -- So near, yet quite far. Peace-anchored development is at one time at the fingertips. At times, miles away.

Chief executives all over the country laboriously work out to get rid the bad elements in their area of responsibility in the name of peace and development.

Elsewhere in the world we can find a developed and progressive area that wade in a surrounding of terror and grief? Usually, developed and progressive communities exude economic confidence in an atmosphere of peace and prosperity.

It is in this direction the Philippine government is gearing up to, especially in conflict areas like Mindanao.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo says peace will bring a new era of economic development to Mindanao, with a "timeline to end arm rebellion" by 2010.

The President hopes, the gains brought about by strong interfaith dialogues, cultural awareness and investments in economic and basic infra development would work favorably towards a lasting peace.

Presidential Adviser on Peace Process, Jesus Dureza acknowledges that despite the difficulties, a final settlement on the issues of stalled peace talks between the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines and on the Philippine government and the Muslim separatists over the ancestral domain agenda on territory will be achieved in the end through a product of sincere work by both sides.

In the home front, President Arroyo constantly infuses the needed funding on infrastructure, education and Small and Medium Enterprise to bolster the country's economic progress. Just this week, she unveiled P350-million information technology fund to train 50,000 scholars 40,000-50,000 people for employment in the Philippine Cyber Corridor In her foreign trips she underscores the importance of global engagement that paves the way for investments to come in which would spell development and prosperity for the country.

To cite an example, the President described the Singaporeans' interest in the development of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) as a clear indication that foreign investors remain bullish on the country's economy despite the present political noise generated by the political oppositions and government critics.

While the national government is full in both hands with work and principles on how to attain and sustain peace and development efforts for Mindanao, it is good to note that local efforts are also geared towards the same direction.

Similarly, the Peace Advocates of Zamboanga (PAZ) and the Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRMSP) have reached a resolution during the recently concluded IRMSP "solidarity forum" to print copies of the Arabic version of the open letter written very recently by138 Islamic scholars and give it to their Christian counterparts.

The dissemination of this open letter containing the common injunctions of the Koran and the Bible to love both God and fellowmen as "common ground" aims to contribute in the attainment of peaceful co-existence between Christian and Muslim in Mindanao. (PIA 9-zc) [top]

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