Press Release
August 7, 2011


Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, chair of the Senate Committee on Social Justice and Rural Development, reiterated his support for President Benigno Aquino III's meeting with MILF Chair Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim amid mixed reactions to the "secret" meeting held in Tokyo, Japan last Thursday.

"The decision to meet with Murad is a bold and daring one, and we throw our support behind it," Pangilinan said. "It shows that the President has guts, and it signals the willingness of this government to do things differently and to take on a new and fresh approach to peace."

"Yes, it entails risks, but exercising leadership requires this," Pangilinan said, reacting to statements that the President had placed himself at risk in holding this meeting. "It was a bold and daring move for the cause of peace. Lest we forget, the President's father, Ninoy Aquino, went to the hills in Central Luzon to convince then-communist rebel leader Luis Taruc to take the path of peace and give up armed struggle."

"'Di puwede 'yung masyadong segurista," Pangilinan adds in Filipino. "Kailangan din tumaya at manindigan kahit may halong panganib ito. Ika nga... 'Kapag nasusunog ang bahay kailangan may halong tapang ang kilos ng mga namumuno.'"

"Clearly, the old ways have failed and the old methods have produced results that are far from desirable. This bold and daring move by the President shows his willingness to do things differently, a willingness to try new approaches to end the decades-old problem of armed conflict plaguing our nation," he adds.

Pangilinan also addressed the MILF, saying, "We urge the MILF to reciprocate and show its willingness to forge a peace agreement that will bring our nation towards the path of progress and prosperity for all. It is time we silence the guns permanently and address the root causes of armed conflict. It is time for a just and honorable peace to triumph over war, death and destruction."

"Our leaders must, in our desire to see genuine solutions to the country's social ills, be willing to experiment with new methods and untried approaches to peace because the old, inutile protocols have failed us," Pangilinan reiterated. "After nearly half a century, peace continues to elude us. To my mind, this is totally unacceptable--we ought to do better."

"It is the courage to make a categorical stand for peace that will see peace through. Not to do so, on the other hand, is cowardice," Pangilinan concluded.

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