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Loren bares agenda for peace in Mindanao

January 27, 2010

SEN. LOREN LEGARDA, NPC AND NP VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE PUSHED TUESDAY COMMON UNDERSTANDING, HARMONY AND COOPERATION BETWEEN MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS IN BARING HER “AGENDA FOR PEACE AND PROGRESS” IN MINDANAO.
Loren said the agenda is based on the open letter sent by a group of Muslim scholars to Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 11, 2007, titled “A Common Word Between Us and You.”
The senator, an honorary Muslim princess, made the remarks before the Ulama summit held at the Waterfront Hotel in Davao City.
Loren said that the letter gave the message that “Rather than fight each other in conflicts where no one can win, both Christians and Muslims should vie with each other in acts of righteousness and good works; to be fair, just and kind to one another.
“The message is particularly relevant to Mindanao whose diverse social landscape – a land shared by Muslims, Christians and Lumads – suffered conflict, poverty and marginalization over the past three decades.”
Loren said it was time to seriously examine and explore new ways for an effective and sustained peace negotiation process that will bring about long-term political settlement.
“In the short term, we need to protect civilians and call for a ceasefire,” she said. “We should demilitarize ARMM (Autonomous Region for Muslims Mndanao) and strengthen the National Police Force. As measures of good governance, we must give the Muslims significant representation and participation in government, create the Shari’ah Appellate Court, and immediately mobilize government resources to rehabilitate conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.