Sunday, October 14, 2012

Legarda on the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement: Let Us Give Peace A Chance

MANILA, October 14, 2012-Senator Loren Legarda today expressed hope that the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement will be an opportunity to achieve the long-elusive peace in Mindanao and called on all Filipinos to support this reform process.

“Let us give peace a chance. Let us explore all possibilities within the bounds of our national sovereignty to achieve the long-elusive peace in Mindanao,” she said.

Legarda, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Committee on Cultural Communities and a peace advocate who has successfully released captives from armed groups in the past, also stressed that change will not come overnight, “Ink on parchment cannot solve the problem. It will be a long and arduous process. Any peace agreement will not be successful without an economic package. And it’s not enough that resources are made available. Resources must be translated into jobs, livelihoods, food, education, healthcare, and welfare for the Bangsamoro people.”

She noted that massive development challenges and socio-economic costs of conflict in Mindanao remain to be addressed.

“Mindanao is home to 6 of the 10 poorest provinces and 17 of the 20 poorest municipalities in the country. Armed conflicts since the 1970s have cost at least 120,000 lives and in 2000-2001 alone, 985,412 persons have been displaced. The World Bank estimates that investment deflection not only from conflict-afflicted areas but from Mindanao as a whole increased the economic cost of the Mindanao conflict to more than $10 billion during the years 1975–2002,” Legarda explained.

“With these figures as a backdrop, the prospects for peace and prosperity in Mindanao should be welcomed by all Filipinos. We must grab this opportunity now as it may not come again and commit to the economic component of the peace agreement or it will fail again. Let us erase all doubts of the past. This chance may only happen in President Aquino’s time because of his desire for a sincere, clean, and honest governance,” she said.

 “As a legislator, I will do my part in ensuring that the new legislation for the Bangsamoro people becomes an instrument by which we can finally achieve lasting and durable peace in Mindanao,” Legarda concluded.

UN Recognizes Legarda as a ‘Hero of Resilience’

MANILA, October 15, 2012-Senator Loren Legarda expressed gratitude for being recognized by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) as a Hero of Resilience.

Of the three billion women worldwide, Legarda is the only Filipino and one of only few who were recognized as heroes of resilience by the UNISDR in celebration of the 2012 International Day for Disaster Reduction. This year’s theme is Women and Girls: The [in]Visible Force of Resilience.

“I am thankful for this recognition as it gives importance to the work that we have been doing to make our country disaster-resilient and to help encourage other nations to do the same,” she stressed.

Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change, has authored the Climate Change Act and the Philippines Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Law, which have been cited by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction Ms. Margareta Wahlstrom as the best laws in the world. Legarda also authored the country’s landmark legislation for the environment, the Clean Air Act and the Solid Waste Management Act.

“This recognition also goes to all Filipinos who are one in the effort to help build their communities resilience against disasters, because all our initiatives, policies, and programs for effective disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation will not be successful and effective if not implemented in the grassroots,” Legarda pointed out.

Aside from Legarda, UNISDR recognized the late Professor Wangari Maathai, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 2004, as Hero of Resilience. The Green Belt Movement, which Maathai founded, has planted over 51 million trees in Kenya and empowered communities, especially women and girls, to promote environmental protection.

Legarda’s inspiring leadership in the global campaign for good environmental governance was recognized in 2001 by the World Economic Forum held in Davos, which named her as one of the Global Leaders for Tomorrow.

In 2001, the United Nations Environment Programme conferred on her the title of UNEP Laureate and included her in the Global 500 Roll of Honor. 

In 2008, the United Nations appointed her as its Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaption for Asia and the Pacific.

At her own initiative, Legarda has spearheaded an information and education campaign on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation through regional workshops for local governments, nationwide dissemination of climate change documentaries, and her greening program called Luntiang Pilipinas, which has planted two million trees in more than 500 hectares across the Philippines.


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