August 2, 2012
SEN GUINGONA: NO PROGRESS IF THERE'S NO PEACE IN MINDANAO
Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III on Thursday said that long-term peace in Mindanao is needed to further boost economic, political and tourist potentials of the region.
Speaking before the Butuan City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. today, Sen. Guingona highlighted the business potential of Mindanao citing its strong export performance despite the negative perceptions of the region.
"I congratulate the business community of Mindanao because despite the increasingly strong rebel presence and extremely negative perceptions of our region, Mindanao continues to be the source of six major commodities that consistently rank on top of our exports list. We have so much potential and we can do so much more," he said.
The good governance advocate likewise stressed his long-standing belief when it comes to Mindanao development: Walay kalamboan kung walay kalinaw sa Mindanao (There would be no progress if there is no peace in Mindanao).
"What do we need and what are we doing to foster peace? We need to have a government that we can trust. Trust is the fundamental ingredient for long-term peace. There will be no peace if the people do not trust the government to do their job: in the peace talks, in political challenges, and in economic decision-making. To foster peace, we must foster trust. To foster trust, we must have good governance," Sen. Guingona said.
The senator said that good governance which is seen to achieve long-term peace in Mindanao can be attained in three things: transparency, accountability and people's participation.
He added that the Aquino administration is now making headway to foster peace and development in the region.
"In the past, Mindanao was like a small boat trapped in the middle of turbulent seas. Nine years under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo meant years of decayed governance, electoral fraud, and military corruption - leading to a strong distrust in the government. We could barely move as a region. The country barely moved as a nation," Sen. Guingona said.
He added that on the current administration, the Mindanao people are slowly seeing changes and this is the opportunity that the region needs.
"As the Aquino administration continues to restore democracy and accountability in this country, we as a people have much to hope for in terms of development and growth. Mindanao is standing on the ledge of full progress, blocked only by the nagging threat of the absence of sustainable and real peace," he said.
Sen. Guingona called on the Mindanao business community to pitch in, step forward and tell everyone what Mindanao is worth fighting for.
"If we work together to make this government work through transparency, accountability, and people's participation, we will achieve peace in Mindanao. With peace, we will finally attain a more inclusive, progressive, and greener Mindanao," Sen. Guingona said.
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