Press Release
November 9, 2009

Press statement of Senator Loren Legarda


In his fifth State of the Region Address, ARMM Governor Datu Zaldy Ampatuan outlined the many challenges, issues and problems facing our Muslim brothers and sisters living within the ARMM. Foremost among these, as everybody knows, are the problems of dehumanizing poverty and the unabated fighting in the region.

As one who has cultivated a deep affection for Mindanao in general, I would like to express solidarity with the aspirations and hopes of our people in ARMM, specifically on their desire for peace, equality, justice and economic prosperity.

Likewise, I would like to add my voice to the deafening clamor not only of the people of ARMM or even of Mindanao in general, but the clamor of the entire nation. I call for the renewal of the Mindanao peace process -- one that is marked by full consultation of all parties involved, one that would fully hew to the provisions of our Constitution, and, most importantly, one that would not result to the Philippines being disemboweled or the separation of any of its parts.

The five-point agenda that had been laid down by Governor Ampatuan - concerning peace and security, infrastructure, stimulating its regional economy, social services and good governance - is indeed at the crux of all the issues facing the ARMM.

For without peace and order, no economy could possibly take off; and without good governance, the people cannot expect to get the most basic of social services. Without both, any and all infrastructure within the ARMM would be mere white elephants - roads hardly used for commerce, buildings that bear silent witness to still-born industries, and farmlands that are perpetually threatened by war.

Add to these the problem of Climate Change, ARMM, like the rest of the Philippines, has its work cut out for it.

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