Sunday, January 26, 2014

Drilon: Signing of normalization annex a major milestone in the nation’s quest for peace in Mindanao

MANILA-Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today hailed the peace panels from both the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in their recent signing of the Annex on Normalization, and said that the Senate is “more than prepared to work on legislation capacitating the peace accords,” which would end four decades of armed conflict in central Mindanao.

“The completion of all the annexes has proven that we Filipinos are not ruled by our differences, but by our shared desire for peace, equality and prosperity as a nation,” he said.

"The admirable commitment and hard work of both parties- the government, the MILF panel, and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process- have led to a historic stride in this decades-old quest for peace in Mindanao," he added.

The normalization annex- the last of the four documents that make up the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro – dictates the deactivation of the 11,000-strong MILF fighting force, and the eventual turnover of their arms.

Drilon stressed that the cessation of using arms and violence is “arguably, the most vital step in the comprehensive peace agreement process.”

“Without the threat of reckless violence, the various infrastructure projects and socio-economic activities can then be implemented properly in parts of Mindanao that have long needed genuine political, social and economic development,” he explained.

“Peace in Mindanao will bring about political stability and socio-economic development in the entire country,” he pointed out.

The Senate President said that the Senate “looks forward to seeing and finally scrutinizing the proposed Bangsamoro law that will institute the necessary reforms called for in the Agreement,” and that the law will be given utmost priority in the Senate.

“The Senate is more than ready to work on the new Bangsamoro basic law – one that would be universally fair, practical and Constitutionally-consistent," Drilon emphasized.

“We would absolutely welcome the chance to be a part of this historic undertaking, and we look forward to cooperating with the various stakeholders in building the legislative tenets of what would finally represent our collective capacity for harmony and cooperation," he concluded.

Legarda: Time to Climate-Proof Energy Sector, Prioritize RE Development

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call for more investments in renewable energy as part of a long-term solution to the growing power needs of the country and to mitigate the effects of environmental degradation and climate change.

Legarda, the United Nations Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, made the call at the Clean Technology Congress 2014 organized by ThomasLloyd in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

“The aftermath of Haiyan was an eye-opener for us Filipinos. The devastation it caused made us realize that we need to climate- and disaster-proof our energy sector,” Legarda said.

Typhoon Haiyan left more than 6,000 dead and nearly 2,000 missing. Damages and losses are estimated at P571.1 billion (equivalent to USD 12.9 billion).[1]

Legarda, co-author and co-sponsor of the Philippine Renewable Energy Law, noted that the Philippines has already established a legal framework that provides for necessary policy mechanisms for the development of the country’s renewable energy resources.

“We have the laws in place, namely, the Philippine Biofuels Act and the Renewable Energy Act. These laws are there and it is only a matter of operationalizing and implementing them,” she said.

The Biofuels Act mandates the blending of biodiesel and ethanol in locally-distributed diesel and gasoline, while the Renewable Energy Law institutionalizes the use and development of renewable energy.

“We should take advantage of the current increased interest in renewable energy. We must encourage more investments on RE because the Philippines is abundant in such. It is second in geothermal energy use and studies show that we have more than 200,000 potential renewable energy resources that remain untapped,” Legarda noted.

“Even the Asian Development Bank acknowledges that there is an increase in clean energy investment in the Asia-Pacific region, attracting USD 101 billion of investments in clean energy for the year 2012 alone,” she added.

“It is about time that we take a consistent and deliberate effort to develop our own energy resources in ways that we can guarantee the future generations of Filipinos a legacy of clean, reliable and affordable energy,” Legarda added.

Aside from Legarda, the event brought together world-renowned speakers Dr. Justin Yifu Lin, former Chief Economist and Vice President of the World Bank; Professor Peter Guthrie, Professor of Engineering for Sustainable Development at the University of Cambridge; and former US President Bill Clinton.

Dr. Lin discussed about the “golden age of Asia” and its growth potential, while Professor Guthrie touched on the need to re-evaluate the concept of the “grid-based” energy model, encouraging the use of renewable energy in off-grid areas.

President Clinton, on the other hand, stressed the need to enhance one’s “relationship with the planet” by means of reducing emissions and promoting investments in the development of renewable energy sources, most especially in solar energy and biomass.


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