Anda di halaman 1dari 4

WELCOME REMARKS On the Signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro at the Kalayaan Gardens, Malacaang Palace By Sec.

Teresita Quintos Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process 27 March2014

His Excellency, our President Benigno Simeon Aquino III; To our esteemed guests - His Excellency, Prime Minister Dato Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak of Malaysia, Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, Chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the chairs and members of the peace negotiating panels of the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Honorable Tengku Dato Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed, our Malaysian Facilitator in the GPH-MILF peace negotiations, members of the diplomatic corps, fellow members of the cabinet, Senate President Drilon and Speaker Belmonte and members of Congress, our partners and friends in peacemaking and peace-building from civil society organizations, the private sector, and local government units, our grassroots communities, the international community Good afternoon. Magandang hapon po. Assalamu Aleikum. We have more than a thousand guests here today. And I am sure that more than a thousand selfies and groupies have been taken by your smartphones, all to be posted, if not already posted, on the web. And as we share with one and all the feelings, smiles and tears of this gathering, we will surely have a million likes on Facebook before the sun rises tomorrow. A day of joy and gladness to you all. Today we embrace peace with the crushing might of a people; and banish war with the great power of a nation united.

Page 1 of 4

Today we embrace peace with the courage of equals rather than the cowardice of bigots, deceivers, and exploiters. Today we embrace peace with deep gratitude and thanksgiving for the gift, the blessing of peace, that only Providence can truly bestow upon humanity. And speaking of blessings, I also remember the gift bestowed upon us in the person of Ibrahim Rahman, a village leader of Pigkawayan, North Cotabato, in Mindanao. One night in August of 2008, amidst the distant clap of cannons and gunfire, Ibrahim woke up to the sight of hundreds of children of all shapes and sizes, in front of his house. The children were apparently told by their parents to flee their homes for safetyby themselves, without food, with only the clothes they wore on their frail bodies. In ragtag fashion and with the bravado of hardy sons and daughters of war, they crossed the Libungan river in bancas to safer sanctuary, and landed, luckily, in Ibrahims front door. Ibrahim called out to others in the community. They took in the young ones in different homes, fed them, and sheltered them in the madrasah. In a state of confusion, the child refugees or bakwits would cry themselves to sleep and wake up not knowing where their parents were. It was weeks later that their parents came for them and brought them back home, when the guns were silent for a while. Ibrahim would later lend his 10-hectare ancestral land to these childrens families, whose areas of residence kept changing, depending on where and when it was safedepending on when and where the bombs fell or the guns roared.

Page 2 of 4

Today those families are sheltered in Ibrahims ancestral land, and are being served by the governments shelter assistance program. And on this day itself, as they hear the words said in this historic ceremony, they are finally invested with hope in a permanent peace, the hope that their children will finally have the chance not only to survive, but to live and to thrive in an enduring community. We stand here today to declare that, henceforth, no family shall be forced to drive their children away for fear of their being maimed and wounded by conflict; and that no child has ever again to cross a raging river and knock on a strangers door to beg for protection. Outside these gates, parents, students, and children are in Luneta flying kites for peace, while our allies from many noble persuasions are in Mendiola and Quiapo in solidarity with us. In various areas in Mindanao, people have turned major roads green with waving peace flags and will be holding "peace-tahan" events to celebrate today's momentous occasion. The signal and prayers are so strong and unrelenting--no more war, no more children scampering for safety, no more evacuees, no more lost schooldays or school-months, no more injustice, no more misgovernance, no more poverty, no more fear and no more want. Tama na, we are all tired of it. A new dawn has come, the dawn for books, not bullets; for paintbrushes, not knives; for whole communities, not evacuation centers; and for rewarding toil, not endless strife. The work is far from over even as the pledges are sealed. But I bear faith that our common intentions will drive us forward, and that noble leaders will clasp hands and pull our future together.

Page 3 of 4

Most of all, I bear the deepest faith that the Almighty will hold us all in the palm of His handconstantly delivering us from the instincts of war and keeping us within the fold of peace each waking day. Today, the Bangsamoro rises with Mindanao, the nation, the region and the worldpart of our great heritage and identity as a nation, a political and economic force for all generations. Mr. President, thank you for leading us forward with a clear vision and indomitable steadfastness. Now I know that tuwid na daan also means peace for all. We could not have made it without you, Mr. President. Everybody knows that. Mr. Prime Minister, allow me to express our gratitude to Malaysia for being a faithful and patient partner of the peace process. We can ask nothing more of a good and trusted neighbor. Chairman Murad, you are truly a warrior for all seasons; we salute your fortitude and tenacity in leading the MILF in war and now in peace. To all who have been our partners in the journey, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I am humbled by your own love for peace and your willingness to live and fight for the dream. And to you all who have toiled by my side and chose to walk these difficult paths and navigated the complicated currents of peace-making as we know it now. You know who you all are--the men and women of OPAPP, with our families, I can only say thank You. Though sometimes we are battered and bruised in body and spirit we will rise and rise again like a phoenix to continue our work, and achieve more triumphs for peace, for our people and country. With that, I say, welcome to the historic Signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. Isang mapayapa at makasaysayang hapon po. Shukran.
Page 4 of 4