GMA uses Mindanao as front act in seventh SONA

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/23 July) — President Arroyo made Mindanao the front
act in her seventh state of the nation address (SONA) Monday afternoon,
promising 30% of the budgets of the Agriculture, Agrarian Reform and
Environment departments for the country’s second largest island grouping.
Arroyo listed third among her three priorities in the next three years,
“investments in bringing peace to Mindanao; crushing terrorism wherever it
threatens regardless of ideology; and putting a stop to human rights abuses
whatever the excuse.”

She said the priorities will find “record levels of well thought out and
generous funding.”

In her past speeches, Ms Arroyo outlined her plans to Mindanao after Luzon and
Central Philippines.

Her promised 30% of the budget from the three regions was partly in response
to a recommendation made at the summit on the Human Security Act in Cagayan de
Oro on July 9 and 10. The recommendation, however, was for a 30% share of the
total budget, not just the budget of three departments.Her first two priorities, she said, are “investments in physical,
intellectual, legal and security infrastructure to increase business
confidence and investments in a “stronger and wider social safety net.”
Arroyo said the investments show both sides in the Mindanao conflict that they
have “more at stake in common; and a greater reason to be together than divided.”

The President said nothing, however, of the now shaky peace process with the
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), citing only “inter-faith dialogue,
expanded public works and more responsive social services.”
But she paid tribute to the 14 Marines killed in Basilan on July 10 and even
sent a company of Marines detailed to the Presidential Security Group, to
Basilan to run after those who beheaded the Marines.

The send off came two days before the SONA where the President said “it is
never right and always wrong to fight terror with terror”

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About mindanaw

A Journalist from Mindanao

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