Department of peace-A A +A
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
TO CREATE and foster lasting peace throughout the country's 7,107 islands, Camarines Sur Representative Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo has proposed the establishment of the Department of Peace.
"The decades-old armed conflicts continue to prevent us from achieving our goal of promoting the Philippines as a safe and secure place for both local and international tourists," Arroyo said.
The Bicol lawmaker, along with Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, are not giving up in pushing the passage of House Bill 5106 which they filed last August 11, 2011 and which now remains pending with the Committee on Government Reorganization chaired by Rep. Cesar Jalosjos (3rd District, Zamboanga del Norte).
The Philippines, the authors said, is considered a tropical paradise due to its vast mountain ranges and forests and remains the home of the Philippine Tarsier, the smallest living mammal alive, the Philippine Eagle, the perfectly shaped cone of Mayon Volcano of Bicol, the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, the Tubbataha Reef and the latest wonder of the world, the Underground River of Palawan.
"We also have the best beaches in the world and some of the finest delicacies the world can ever taste," the young Arroyo stressed, adding that Filipinos have also been considered as one of the most hospitable and warmest people in the world which are most vital to tourism.
But despite all of nature's wonders abounding in the country, tourism's great potential continues to be stunted by the continued deep conflict with the enemies of the state namely, the Moro Islamic Front, Moro National Liberation Front, the Abu Sayyaf and the New People's Army-NDF.
"We should therefore come up with a lasting solution to our age-old problem of deep conflict and ensure the success of the country's peace process. One logical move is to create a national agency that will focus on strengthening the building blocks for lasting peace," Arroyo said.
Under HB 5106, among others, the proposed Department shall: (1) formulate, recommend and implement advocacies, plans, programs and guidelines that will promote and uphold peaceful non-violent and non-killing principles; (2) initiate, harmonize and coordinate all peace keeping, non-violent and non-killing initiatives of the government and its respective agencies; and (3) strengthen civilian and non-military means of peacemaking.
"The Department shall also encourage the development of initiatives from local communities, religious groups, and non-government organizations towards peace and represent and negotiate on behalf of government's interest on matters pertaining to peace, understanding and cooperation in local and international bodies," he added.
There shall also be an Advisory Council for Peace to be composed of the Secretaries of Foreign Affairs, National Defense, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to be chaired by the Secretary of Peace.
The said Council shall report and advise the President, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and make recommendations about affairs and policies relating to peace.
Section 12 of HB 5106 states: "In any case in which a conflict between the Philippines and any foreign government or entity is imminent or occurring, the Secretary of National Defense and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs shall consult with the Secretary of Peace concerning non-violent means of conflict resolution."
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on April 25, 2012.