Tuesday, March 7, 2017

MESSAGE of GENERAL EDUARDO M AÑO AFP, Chief of Staff, AFP during the 1st Mindanaw Sultunate Summit on Peace and Security on 4 March 2017.

FOREMOST, please allow me to express the gratitude of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the kind invitation extended to us not only to participate but also to play a major role in this well-meaning undertaking. Mandated to protect the State and serve the Filipino people, your AFP always looks forward to any endeavor the involves our stakeholders in seeking to attain a just and lasting peace for our nation.

Considering the unique and dynamic security landscape here in Mindanao, the conduct of this particular summit is unprecendented and pioneering. We pin our hopes that this event should trigger the emergence of similar ventures in the near future.

Surely, the Sultunate of Mindanao is a significant instrumentality and valuable mechanism in addressing peace and order concerns in their respective Muslim communities. With your expressed commitment for peace and security, it is reassuring to note that the military is not alone in this fight. It sends an encouraging message that the nation that we vowed to serve and defend at all cost, cares about the very cause that we are fighting for.

Mindanao has long been regarded as the Land of Promise. With its vast resources and immense potential, it can well become our country’s major economic hub, agri-production center and top tourist destination at par with its neighboring Asian cities such as Jakarta, Bali and Kuala Lumpur. As a major challenge to the realization of these potentials, the current situation in insurgency and terrorism necessitates our intensified focused military operations against armed peace-spoilers particularly the Abu Sayyaf Group, Maute Group, BIFF and other FLTOs. In doing so, we have long acknowledged that a purely military solution to these problems is not enough. Hence, whatever support we can generate, especially from the Sultunate of Mindanao would certainly brings us closer to the triumphant end of this long and meaningless violence. Thus, allow me to thank all of you, in behalf of a grateful AFP, for your expression of support.

Looking at the outputs of our workshop-groups, we can certainly say that we are able to meet this summit’s objectives. For our part, the AFP shall take into consideration the lessons we learned in this three-day summit, particularly in the conduct of our operations. These are essentials inputs and we thank the different groups for the thorough, deliberate and intelligent discussion of the key topics related to our theme.

“Atung napamatud-an nga ang kalinaw ug kalambuan, makab-ot nato pinaagi sa atuang hustong baruganan, panaghiusa ug pagkabana sa tibuok katilingban.”

At this point, allow me to share with you this particular saying that goes and I quote “Most of the problems we encounter in life is often because we act without thinking or we think without acting on it”, unquote.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have displayed the distinct Filipino spirit since time immemorial. It has seen us through many calamities and disasters. This time, let this spirit unite us in winning and sustaining the peace towards building a progressive and prosperous Filipino nation – “Iisang bansa, iisang diwa, iisang lahi, iisang minimithi.”

Shuk’ran, daghang salamat, ug maayong hapon sa atung tanan!

Source: Public Information Office, Eastern Mindanao Command, AFP

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