Press Release
August 25, 2008


"The peace process is just like a marriage--we have to continue the dialogue, we have to continue trying to fix our shortcomings, we have to continue strengthening the peace. And peace is strengthened when you see it being beneficial to the public, if there is education, if there's economic development; if there's security, consistency and transparency in everything that will happen when the peace process starts."

Amid the ongoing conflict in Mindanao and the continuous debates on the GRP-MILF Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain, Senator Richard Gordon likened the peace process to two individuals entering marriage, noting that it is important to prepare and educate those who are involved.

He said that the people of Mindanao --Christians, Muslims and other ethnic groups--who will be directly affected by any peace agreement entered into by the government and the MILF, should be prepared and made aware of how the agreement would affect them. The people should understand what will happen once a peace accord is reached.

"Signing the peace agreement is the easy part; making it work is the hard part. And if we properly lay the groundwork for peace by explaining to those who still are not able to understand it, there's got to be a considerable amount of patience and hard work to try and tell the people who will be affected what the lay of the land would be," Gordon said.

Gordon explained that aside from having a peace accord, it is more important to work on the development of ARMM, which is one of the poorest areas in the country. He said the government should address the needs of the people in the region, more importantly in the aspect of education and infrastructure.

Gordon also stressed that in order to achieve lasting peace there should be respect, acceptance and understanding among Filipinos, regardless of religion or ethnic origin.

"Respect, acceptance and understanding--that is what we need. Even if we sign a peace plan, but if we do not respect, accept and understand each other, we'll all lose. We have to realize that at the end of the day, we are all Filipinos living in one country. And as far as I am concerned, there is only one homeland--our homeland is the Philippines ," Gordon said.

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