For peace in Mindanao
I am happy that the government of President Benigno Aquino III and the Moro Islamic Liberation front (MILF) has finally reached an agreement for peace in Mindanao.
The agreement calls for the dissolution of the armed component of the MILF and their integration with the Philippine National Police organization. The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao shall now be called the Bangsamoro.
What is good about the recent agreement is that it was practically supported and participated in by all the Muslim sectors in Mindanao with the good intention of putting an end to the armed conflict in the area and ushering an era of peaceful co-existence.
But not all the sectors in Muslim Mindanao are happy with the agreement for many reasons. Nur Misuari who is one of those who were unhappy so it is good to remind him that he had his time when he was the governor of ARMM but he blew the opportunity to bring development to Muslim Mindanao.
I think our Muslim brothers and sisters should work to give the agreement the chance to work. We are all lucky that we have a President who intends to finally forge a peace agreement. Let us take advantage of the mental framework of the President and finally find peace for our brothers and sisters in Muslim Mindanao. I share our wish and hope for lasting peace in Muslim Mindanao so that we could now bring in development. We would like to wish people there the best of luck as they try to implement the new peace agreement.
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The Sin Tax bill has become more controversial with Sen. Ralph Recto’s version. Malacañang’s version supposedly would generate about P60 billion in revenues but Recto’s version will generate only about P15 billion.
The anti-smoking advocates are accusing Recto of succumbing to the wishes and pressures of tobacco manufacturers and businesses while Recto insisted that his version would raise more taxes.
I think it is about time that we should protect our people especially our children from the harmful effects of smoking by imposing hefty taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. We should regulate smoking and drinking in our community because smoking has caused numerous deaths related to cancer and has become costly for our government and people.
I believe that we should encourage more debate in the sectors affected by smoking and the camp of Senator Recto so that we could ultimately come up with a law that would address the concerns of the government and the people. I think Senator Recto should listen to those who are in favor of the original sin tax instead of dismissing them outright because they have valid claims.
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Finally the Regional Development Council has approved the expansion of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal after receiving the endorsement from Lapu-Lapu City. The expansion project will cost about P8 billion and will cover the new terminal building, car park, access roads and the rehabilitation of the taxiway and runway.
The expansion is going to address the demands of the increasing numbers of airport users especially that we are targeting an increase of tourists in our province. I think the expansion is timely. At least we are now pro-active in our effort to address the immediate concerns of many travelers.
The expansion would definitely be good for us and our neighboring provinces as our airport will have a larger carrying capacity and would become more convenient for all of us. With this development the proposal to transfer the airport to the town of Cordova has become moot and academic though it can always be revived in the future.
I think it is best that we improve our present airport than transfer it to another place though we can always set up an alternative airport as in the north of Cebu as proposed by both Mayor Junie Martinez and Rep. Benhur Salimbangon.
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