Press Release
September 25, 2009

Gordon: 9th ray an advocacy to champion reforms in Mindanao

Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) today said that his proposal to add a ninth ray to the sun in the Philippine Flag is just a part of his many advocacies for peace and continuous growth and development not only for the Muslim people but also for the whole of Mindanao.

Gordon, principal author of Senate Bill 3307 proposing the ninth ray, said that the measure aims to recognize the contribution of Muslim Filipinos in the country's fight against colonial rule. But more than that, the ninth ray would signal the start of new efforts for peace and development in Mindanao by fostering respect, understanding and acceptance between Muslim and non-Muslim Filipinos.

He added that to complement the purpose of the ninth ray, there is a proposed legislation to create an agency that would primarily carry out economic and social reforms in Mindanao to ensure the growth and development that the island deserves.

"We are a country that has had a conflict with our Muslim brothers for the last so many decades. It is time that we take the necessary steps to recognize the contribution of our Muslim brothers in our history," he said.

"We must continue efforts that would empower our people and provide them with more opportunities to enable them to contribute to the progress of our nation. Whenever I go to Mindanao I see the possibilities that are boundless not only in tourism, not only in agriculture, but also in industrial development," he said.

Gordon said that there has to be an authority that would effect a serious and comprehensive long-term program for socio-economic development in the area that is commensurate to the demands of a modern economy.

It is for this reason that he proposed Senate Bill 3260, an Act creating the Mindanao Economic Development Authority (MEDA), which would be the implementing agency for Mindanao-specific inter-regional and Mindanao-wide programs and projects, including Official Development Assistance (ODA) projects.

The senator pointed out that Mindanao is endowed with rich natural resources, but decades of armed conflict have taken its toll on the island.. In fact, 45% of consistently poor provinces in the country are in Mindanao.

Gordon said he strongly supports the creation of the MEDA to promote, coordinate, and facilitate the participation of all sectors towards the socio-economic development of Mindanao.

"Mindanao has been touted as the land of promise. But we have to make sure that the authority is established so that we can see the promise of Mindanao, MindaNOW, not tomorrow, but today," he said.

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