Representative of FM
Honourable? Secretary Jesus Dureza,? ?
Honourable Secretary Rodolfo Garcia,
Honourable Assistant Secretary Evelyn Daplas,
Brigadier General Reynaldo Sealana,
Ms. Janet Lopoz,
It is a great pleasure to welcome you all today for the Conference on The Peace Process Cooperation: Learning and Sharing Best Practices from the Philippines. I am truly honoured to receive our special guests from the Philippines, Honourable Secretary Jesus Dureza, President of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Honourable Secretary Rodolfo Garcia, Chairman of the Government Panel negotiating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Honourable Assistant Secretary Evelyn Daplas of OPAPP, Briadier General Reynaldo Sealana, Co-Chairman of the GRP-MILF Ceasefire Committees and Ms. Janet Lopoz of the Mindanao Economic Development Council, as well as representatives from the Thai security agencies. I am confident that the objective of this conference, which is to learn from the best practices and experience of the Philippines Peace Process, sharing information on security and peoples? safety and building networks between Thailand and Philippine counterparts, will empower us in addressing our common desire of peace building in the southern part of our countries.
This conference is also envisioned to further enhance our close cooperation in ensuring the effective and efficient pursuit of our peace agenda in the south through sharing of experience and best practices between our two countries? comprehensive approach on areas of political, economic, diplomatic, military and legal aspects.
Needless to say, this conference is the first of its kind being the brainchild and undertaken through the efforts of my colleagues at the Royal Thai Embassy in Manila and through the invaluable participation of our counterparts and friends from the Philippine peace process and negotiating agencies. I am positive that our fruitful cooperation and participation in this? conference will be a pioneer effort in deepening our understanding of the challenges we face in maintaining a peaceful society in our two countries.
Today?s conference is designed to emphasize five thematic discussions namely:
Before we proceed with our intensive discussion, I would like to give an overview of the Thailand and Philippine approach on peace building.? ?
The Thai Peace Model is anchored on three pillars, first is the bridging leadership of our beloved King; second is compassion and understanding symbolized by the Monks; and third is inter-religious dialogue. The five provinces of southern Thailand is where the Muslim population are concentrated, interestingly enough these areas are where the economy is at a standstill and categorized as the poorest in the Kingdom. Today, very evident are the positive strides in terms of economic development and social cohesion built between the Buddhist Thai and Muslim population of the region. The achievement in southern Thailand on peace building is centered on a workable social cohesion between diverse cultural and religious groups through the absence of a formal negotiation and without political settlement or peace agreement. The peace making has been anchored along three major landmarks: education, development programs and good governance.???????? ??? ?
The Philippine experience on the other hand, is also prevalent on the five poorest provinces in the south and has centered on issues of poverty, political autonomy and cultural identity. The Philippine government has provided an opportunity to reinvigorate and seek new approaches to the peace process in Mindanao, with the government?s desire for sustainable peace and development in the south and a detailed roadmap that directly addresses the plight of Muslims. By reaching out both to the government and Muslim people?s constituents? and engaging their active support on the peace process, workable solutions has been put in place for its Muslim minority.
Although the nature of our challenges in the south are different, I truly believe that we can study the best practices adopted and implemented by the Philippines, and through our cooperation in intelligence gathering/sharing, dialogue and strengthening
and exchange of networks, we can explore different options and which will significantly contribute to the common ground of achieving peace process. We can specifically learn from the experience and challenges faced by our Filipino brothers in crafting lasting solutions that address the root cause of the conflict.
May I also reiterate that in all endeavors, cooperation among all stakeholders is valuable. In this case, to achieve and promote sustainable peace is worthy of our common efforts. I hope this conference will be the start of our continued closer cooperation in this area making the elusive peace with our Muslim brothers in the south be attainable in the near future.