Soliman on peace pact: Goodbye to bullets and bombs-A A +A
Thursday, March 27, 2014
A RANKING government official is optimistic that a sustainable and lasting peace in Mindanao can finally be achieved with the signing of the peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Thursday.
Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), said the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) will not only benefit the Bangsamoro people but the entire Mindanao.
Speaking before the graduates during Xavier University’s 75th commencement exercises where she was the guest speaker on Thursday, Soliman said that after 17 years of sitting down and offering proposals and counter-proposals between the two parties, the people of Mindanao, especially the youth, can now reap the fruits of struggles that have eluded the island for so long.
Soliman also received from the university a Doctor of Humanities degree conferred by its president Fr. Roberto Yap.
Soliman also reminded the graduates that their graduation had coincided with the peace pact signing, considered by many as historic in scope and substance as this will signal an era of cooperation and prosperity.
“Today, as we celebrate this significant milestone in your lives, other young people in different places in Mindanao rejoice and look toward a future with hope much more than their fathers and mothers,” she said.
“The long-winded conflict,” she said, “that has kept progress at bay for so long may now come to pass.”
Soliman said: “A beginning of a new world will be forged, the decades-old struggle of our Muslim brothers and sisters will enter a new but a more peaceful avenue of change.”
CAGAYAN DE ORO. Department of Social Welfare and Development secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman expresses her optimism toward the progress of peace in Mindanao during the 75th commencement exercises of Xavier University, March 27, 2014, where she gives the keynote speech. (Erwin M. Mascarinas)
She is hopeful that the CAB would usher in an end to sufferings and deaths that has marred the landscape of Mindanao, particularly areas that the Moros have claimed a stake on.
“We say goodbye to the bullets and bombs, the violence that had taken away lives. We say goodbye to the threat of armed conflict that has burdened the day-to-day lives of the people in Mindanao.”
For the people of Mindanao who have witnessed bloodshed, she said, “this is a better tomorrow that they have been waiting for.”
Soliman also urged the graduates to contribute to the progress and development of Mindanao.
“The glaring challenge of poverty and other realities in Mindanao will certainly be a factor in a life-changing decision that you will make,” she said.
She cited a National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) report, which revealed that in the first semester of 2012, nine out of 15 poorest provinces in the country are in Mindanao.
“That [data] is not new. It only gives weight to the startling contrast to the lush greenery of Mindanao and the poverty of its people, poverty that is rooted in inequality and injustice,” she added.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 28, 2014.