November 28, 2022

VICE President Sara Duterte stressed the importance of good governance in resolving conflicts such as wars, noting that government officials working with integrity and dedication to public service will allow the public to disengage themselves from violence.

In her speech at the Kusog Mindanaw Conference in Davao City on Friday, Duterte said that Mindanao is now experiencing “peace titme,” which would allow the government to address the problems that could be exploited by terror groups to foment anger and incite people to resist the government.

Duterte is the highest Philippine official to attend the group’s annual conference.

“Peace is a delicate, fragile beauty. It needs constant attention. In the case of Mindanao, it does not only need our continuous attention; it needs our constant, collective attention,” Duterte added.

She noted the efforts of previous governments to bring peace in Mindanao, such as the signing of the 1996 peace agreement between the Moro National Liberation Front and then president Fidel Ramos, as well as the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed between then president Benigno Aquino 3rd and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

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She described them as “peace doves,” who were top government officials such as Cabinet members and ranking military officials who were supportive of their calls to end the war in Mindanao.

“Both presidents are no longer with us, but I believe that some of those who worked with their Peace Doves continue the Mindanao peace advocacy works even today.” Duterte added.

She said that while the previous administration of his father, Rodrigo Duterte, had to deal with the radicalized groups behind terrorist attacks in Mindanao, the government had seen zero deployments of soldiers to the island.

Duterte also emphasized that peace should be on top of the Mindanao agenda for the country, noting that the war in the island should be “remembered only to remind us of why we should all work together and commit, protect, and defend peace at all costs.”

She also called on every Mindanaoan, like herself, to acknowledge the sacrifices of fellow Mindanaoans who have fought against rebel groups to secure Mindanao and provide safety to the people.

“You have all the reasons to be proud of the tremendous job that you have done for Mindanao and your fellow Mindanaoans,” she said.

Kusog Mindanaw is a Mindanao-wide organization that is established as a platform for discussion and development partnerships in the island.