A LOT of sectors are complaining that they were not highlighted, or even just slightly underlined, at the first State of the Nation Address of the new President. Of course.
One speech cannot contain all the plans, policies, programs, projects, proposals and positions of the new administration. As we have seen and heard, it was not even enough to enumerate all the problems.
In any case, the mention of an item or a topic is neither an assurance nor a guarantee of a solution. Unless words are turned into action, they remain like the savory aroma of good food - you can smell it, but you cannot eat it, so your nose may get a sniff of it, but your stomach is still empty.
Fortunately for the people of Mindanao, one very major concern of the island was included in the speech, albeit without details and although without specifics, but that was a good enough start. The challenge now is how to make the next step.
The new President said that peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front should immediately begin after the Ramadan that is just around the corner. The head of the negotiating panel was already named and supposedly the other members will all be appointed soon.
Hopefully, the new team will know, or already knows, that the only way to peace and development is respect, understanding and acceptance.
If we do not respect a person, we cannot begin to understand them. If we do not understand a person, we cannot begin to accept them. Without acceptance, there will be no peace. Without peace, there will be no development.
We have to respect their rights, religion, values, culture and even traditions. We have to understand their needs, plans, procedures, wishes and even aspirations. We have to accept their attitudes, distinctiveness, individuality, uniqueness and even idiosyncrasies.
What has happened for a very long time, and it keeps repeating itself, is this - war breeds poverty, poverty breeds desperation, desperation breeds crime, at the very least, and terrorism, at the very extreme.
There is severe shortage, or total absence, of food, water, medicines, books, schools, roads, bridges, hospitals, jobs, livelihood and the list goes on. In a case like this, in a place like this, people have either no choice or a choice - no choice but to revolt, or a choice that is to be a rebel.
So before we all get sucked and swallowed by doom and gloom, let us all give peace a chance as the saying goes and as the song goes.
Peace with honor is key. Development with dignity is key. Instead of cracking heads thinking domains, borders and spheres, the new team can very well begin with opening hearts feeling respect, understanding and acceptance. This is the way to peace with honor. This is the way to development with dignity.
At the end of the day, we have to fight war, poverty and desperation. At the end of the day, the war against haplessness, helplessness and hopelessness should be the only war worth waging.
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