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Peace deal seen to unleash southern Philippines' economic potentials
Publication Date : 27-03-2014
The landmark signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, a peace deal between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), would pave the way not only for lasting peace but also economic development in the poorest regions of Mindanao, business group Makati Business Club (MBC) said.
“We greatly commend the government’s peace panel led by Secretary Teresita Deles and chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, and the MILF panel led by Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and head of the MILF peace panel Mohagher Iqbal, who have seen this process through, amidst all the challenges during the entire stretch of the negotiations,” the MBC said in a statement.
The business group also cited the Malaysian government’s role in reaching the deal.
“MBC believes that the process that led to this final peace accord was conducted with utmost respect for the principles of fairness, transparency, and inclusivity,” it said.
With the peace agreement in place, the Philippine Congress must immediately craft the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the MBC said.
“We repeat our shared aspiration that the Basic Law, which the government has committed to certify as urgent legislation, will truly embody the aspirations of the Bangsamoro and usher the region towards greater economic, social, and cultural activity,” the group said.
Peace in Mindanao will make the region “a truly vibrant and essential part of the Philippine economic engine,” especially if Filipino businessmen would also begin to invest in the Bangsamoro domain, according to the MBC.
“We believe that the success of the peace deal hinges largely on genuine economic development, and the improvement in the quality of the lives of the people, both in the Bangsamoro and in Mindanao as a whole. We are hopeful that the effective implementation of the Agreement will unleash the region’s vast potentials for agriculture and agribusiness investments, tourism, and natural resource development, among others,” the business group said.
“With the country’s steadily improving investment climate, the peace deal presents a golden opportunity for the Bangsamoro and Mindanao. In this context, the business community must do its part. Thus, we call on our colleagues in business to be active participants in developing Mindanao’s economy and in providing greater livelihood opportunities for our brothers and sisters in the region,” the group added.