Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Declare a ceasefire

We urge the government and the National Democratic Front to immediately declare a ceasefire if only to show interest and sincerity in pursuing the path of peace.

Both sides cannot hope to talk peace while relentless attacks and clashes repeatedly occur in various parts of the nation. A ceasefire and a truce must be seriously considered as a means to give way to formal talks.

The insurgency in the Philippines has dragged on for decades and cost hundreds of thousands of lives, including innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. The continued armed conflict has also drained the nation’s coffers of funds that should have been allocated to basic social services for Filipinos.

I say this again and I would like to stress that no progressive nation became prosperous while facing armed conflict. A declaration of ceasefire could pave the way to the development of war torn areas in the country. This would solve the number one cause of insurgency—poverty. The peace initiatives during the Ramos presidency gave rise to highly developed cities such as General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao City. Who’s to say the same cannot happen again?

Renewed faith of the private sector to the agri sector

We welcome the good news that the country’s agriculture sector posted substantial growth in the first semester of 2011.

The strength of the agri sector comes from a renewed faith of the private sector and the agriculture sector in the Agriculture Department brought about by its sincerity and its serious desire to deliver results. The private sector is now willing to engage and actively participate in contributing to the agriculture economy because it believes in the leadership of DA Secretary Procy Alcala and President Noy Aquino.

Our work in the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food is primarily focused on improving the quality of life of our farmers. The solid fist-half growth in the agriculture sector should attract more investors from the private sector and venture into agricultural businesses. This shows we are on the right path to progress. We just need sustained push and support for the agriculture sector. There is no reason why we cannot be at par with, or indeed surpass, major agricultural nations in Southeast Asia.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Promote Philippine native cuisine

We recommend a stronger push for Filipino cuisine as a driver of both tourism and agriculture.

The promotion of Philippine native cuisine and delicacies will give a strong shot in the arm for our agriculture and fisheries sector and for the food industry that directly springs from agri and fisheries.

Twenty years ago, Thai and Vietnamese food were unknown in major cities worldwide. That isn't the case today. What Vietnam and Thailand achieved in the last twenty years the Philippines can do in the next twenty years. Placing Philippine native cuisine in the world map isn't far-fetched.

Philippine seafood is arguably the best in the world. Our lobsters, oysters, shrimps, mussels, fish, and crabs are better tasting than those produced elsewhere. The next DOT chief must place food in the centerpiece of the Philippine tourist experience.

In spite of the presence of large Filipino communities around the world, Filipino cuisine hasn't yet broken out into the global marketplace--at least not the way the cuisine of its neighbors have captivated global tastebuds.

It's time for us to show the world that Filipino cuisine, just like our beaches and our people, is truly world-class.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Congratulations to the Cobra Philippine Dragon Boat Team

The Philippine Dragon Boat team has brought to our country honor and recognition by displaying superiority and excellence in the international competition. For that they deserve no less than our respect and support.

We urge the Games Committee to look into the process by which athletes are given support by the Philippine Sports Commission.

It is unfortunate that we continuously hear about Filipino athletes performing superbly and displaying excellence despite the lack of government support. Our athletes are giving our nation honor and recognition, and they bring hope and exceptional aspirations to our people. It is about time the government’s concerned agencies give their complete and unqualified support to our athletes.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Doing things differently to end decades old problem of armed conflict

The decision to meet with Murad is a bold and daring one and we throw our support behind it. It shows that the President has guts and is willing and capable of taking risks and placing the office and the powers that flow from such an office in the forefront for the cause of peace.

This development signals the willingness of this govt to do things differently and to take on a new and fresh approach to peace. Indeed for real change to take place we must be willing to do things differently. Clearly the old ways have failed and the old methods have produced results that are far from desirable. This bold and daring move by the President shows his willingness to do things differently, a willingness to try new approaches to end decades old problem of armed conflict plaguing our nation.

We urge the MILF to reciprocate and show its willingness to forge a peace agreement that will bring our nation towards the path of progress and prosperity for all.

It is time we silence the guns permanently and address the root causes of armed conflict. It is time for a just and honorable peace to triumph over war, death and destruction.