Senator: Spend on food, not bombs

October 25, 2011

Sun Star Online
October 25, 2011

MANILA — Food, not bombs, will bring peace to conflict-ridden areas of Mindanao, Senator Francis Pangilinan said Tuesday.

Pangilinan, chairman of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, said this after the Armed Forces of the Philippines launched airstrikes Monday against a reported breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“There is nothing that our country will gain by waging an all-out war against our fellow Filipinos. In fact, in the four decades that we have been waging war in the south, we have already lost close to P100 billion in damage to crops, infrastructure, property, and in spending for arms and ammunition that have killed countless lives,” he said in a press statement.

That P100 billion could have been spent on social services or on boosting food production instead, he said.

“What our people in the rural areas need are sustainable agricultural programs that can help feed our people and give our farmers and fisherfolk dignity in their professions. Then maybe they will no longer be encouraged to take up arms,” Pangilinan added.

In a statement Monday, Pangilinan called on the government to deal with rogue, or breakaway, factions of the MILF “should be dealt with the full force of the law.” He said government forces “should show no mercy for the murderous lost commands.”

The senator also urged President Benigno Aquino III to suspend both a ceasefire agreement with the MILF, and peace talks with the rebel group until better safeguards are in place to avoid more clashes.(Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)

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