Press Release
January 5, 2009

Loren urges RP to speak out for a stop to Gaza fighting

Senator Loren Legarda said today that the Philippines must add its voice to a mounting clamor from many countries for the immediate cessation of hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians in the disputed Gaza Strip.

Loren said that reports on the mounting number of civilian casualties should prompt the combatants to negotiate a peaceful settlement on their long-drawn conflict.

"Those who suffer the most in conflict areas are the civilians, especially women, children and the elderly. War is the scourge of mankind, thus our country must state its opposition to the costly fighting at the Gaza Strip," she said.

"The community of nations must move for an immediate ceasefire, which is the first step to resolving the problem," she added.

Loren said the Philippines cannot act like the Gaza conflict will have no effect on it. "Peace and stability in the Middle East is a concern of all countries because oil prices can shoot up if the fighting there would escalate," she explained.

"As it is, Filipinos in the conflict areas are already feeling the pressure of needing to be repatriated back to the Philippines," Loren pointed out.

At the very least, the combatants must be pressured by countries to fully comply with international conventions governing conflict situations, especially those concerning the protection of innocent civilians from harm.

"Considering civilian casualties as collateral damages is not acceptable. We are talking here of people getting caught in the crossfire and being incinerated and buried under rubbles by high explosives," Loren said.

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