By John Tria
As peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF) come to a halt, hopes for real peace nontheless endure in Mindanao with people coming together to celebrate recent triumphs, particularly of new partnerships in light of the rebuilding of Marawi.
Looking back, a lot of hope was hinged on the confidence built by the strong relations established with the left by having a few of them join the Duterte cabinet. Some left a good work record to be proud of; others probably not so.
Nonetheless, the impact of the work experience is that politics aside, there is a possibility of various sides working together to achieve common objectives.
The only obstacle is whether the high amounts of trust and confidence needed to sustain a work relationship were also fortified.
Every time peace talks commence with the NDF, people tend to look more at it to size up two things – whether they can represent the aspirations of people beyond their organizations, and if they can still exercise control over their armed units in the regions. The public, especialy in the provinces, is invited to ask and join the dialogue.
With national peace negotiations stopped, another question worth asking is whether localized peace talks are the real way forward to achieving a just peace. We wait and see whether this is the case.
It will be noted that in many areas in the Luzon and the Visayas, the strength of the New Peoples army is not the same as it was. Intelligence officials report that the biggest of the force continues to exist in Eastern Mindanao.
This is why we in n Mindanao watch these developments very closely, especially given that many among the so-called combatants and front allies remain with government, and that slight provocations can cause trouble for many. The truth, however is that dialogue at the grassroots level has always proceeded.
But what will build even more confidence in the peace process as a whole is the rebuilding of Marawi. Apart from government, many private individuals have come forward to help.The high level of volunterism has infected many quarters, and is inspiring even more.
Speeding up and spreading the efforts by involving and coordinating more assistance will help rebuild confidence and open doors faster for peacebuilding to root.
Davao’s LEADers set good examples for entrepreneurs
Congratulations to the Davao Jaycee Senate for the 2017 Leaders and Achievers of Davao (LEAD) Awards. This inspires many entrepreneurs to pursue higher goals as the awardees, led by Malagos Chocolate founder Charito Puentespina, witness to the success achieved through creativity and vision.
Her entrepreneurial vision began with popularizing the iconic waling waling orchid in the 80s and has tranalated into kickstarting Davao’s Cacao industry, which has spawned a host of products and attractions such as the chocolate museum and Cacao City.
Other awardees include educator Dr. Guillermo Torres Jr. of the University of Mindanao and tourism and culture advocate Mary Ann Montemayor.
Mighty’s cigarettes destroyed
Fed into the Holcim cement plant were almost 5 million packs of Mighty cigarettes siezed for not paying correct taxes.
We hope that this inisitative led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez sends a strong signal to smugglers and even the revenue-generating bureaucracy that wrongdoing doesnt pay and instead, gets burned.
Israel comes to Davao
Following the successful trade missions of the British, Chinese, and other foreign business groups, let us congratulate the Israeli Embassy led by Ambassador Efraim Ben Matityau and Israel Chamber of Commerce President Itamar Gero who worked in cooperation with the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry to mount a successful trade and investment visit to Davao last Nov. 23 bringing agriculture and IT companies to meet with local counterparts.
Such visits are a vote of confidence in Mindanao’s capability to deliver successful investments. We wish all good luck in their business to business meetings.
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