Press Release
October 14, 2012

Legarda on the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement:
Let Us Give Peace A Chance

Senator Loren Legarda today expressed hope that the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement will be an opportunity to achieve the long-elusive peace in Mindanao and called on all Filipinos to support this reform process.

"Let us give peace a chance. Let us explore all possibilities within the bounds of our national sovereignty to achieve the long-elusive peace in Mindanao," she said.

Legarda, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Committee on Cultural Communities and a peace advocate who has successfully released captives from armed groups in the past, also stressed that change will not come overnight, "Ink on parchment cannot solve the problem. It will be a long and arduous process. Any peace agreement will not be successful without an economic package. And it's not enough that resources are made available. Resources must be translated into jobs, livelihoods, food, education, healthcare, and welfare for the Bangsamoro people."

She noted that massive development challenges and socio-economic costs of conflict in Mindanao remain to be addressed.

"Mindanao is home to 6 of the 10 poorest provinces and 17 of the 20 poorest municipalities in the country. Armed conflicts since the 1970s have cost at least 120,000 lives and in 2000-2001 alone, 985,412 persons have been displaced. The World Bank estimates that investment deflection not only from conflict-afflicted areas but from Mindanao as a whole increased the economic cost of the Mindanao conflict to more than $10 billion during the years 1975-2002," Legarda explained.

"With these figures as a backdrop, the prospects for peace and prosperity in Mindanao should be welcomed by all Filipinos. We must grab this opportunity now as it may not come again and commit to the economic component of the peace agreement or it will fail again. Let us erase all doubts of the past. This chance may only happen in President Aquino's time because of his desire for a sincere, clean, and honest governance," she said.

"As a legislator, I will do my part in ensuring that the new legislation for the Bangsamoro people becomes an instrument by which we can finally achieve lasting and durable peace in Mindanao," Legarda concluded.

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