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ARAW NG KAGITINGAN

Aquino says MILF, like Japan, a former-enemy-turned-ally

/ 12:07 PM April 09, 2015

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BATAAN, Philippines—Drawing from the experiences of various nations during World War II, President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday again attempted to convince naysayers to support the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law.

“Imagine: Those who were once our enemies are today our partners in realizing a just peace for all,” Aquino said, alluding to both Japan and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), during the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) festivities at Mt. Samat.

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The President recalled how Japan became a partner of the Philippines and the United States despite what happened during World War II.

READ: Japan envoy apologizes to PH for WW2

“Clearly, progress cannot be achieved through mere individual action. Conflict can only lead to more suffering and misunderstanding, while solidarity brings widespread benefit,” Aquino said. “This is the same lesson that leads us to champion lasting peace in Mindanao, and to call for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”

The MILF has been pursuing peace with the Philippine government. However, the peace process is now in jeopardy because of the backlash of the botched Mamasapano operation.

While Aquino has been receiving flak for his handling of the incident, the MILF has been accused of insincerity. Last January 25, the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) was able to kill Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan. However, 44 SAF troopers were among those killed in a clash with the MILF, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and other armed groups.

Stability

“In coming together to foster stability in Mindanao, all the more are we able to widen the scope of opportunities available to our countrymen,” Aquino said.

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He reiterated his argument that progress in Mindanao will discourage people from joining “radical factions” and terrorist groups.

READ: Aquino says PH stands to lose more if BBL not passed

“Two generations have already suffered due to the violence that has dominated Mindanao. Now that we are here, we will not allow succeeding generations to suffer the same fate,” he explained.

Solidarity

Aquino said that with all the challenges that the country has been facing – from conflict to natural disasters – nations should push for solidarity.

“Despite our differences, we live in and share a single world. The legitimate concern of one is a concern of all,” he said.

The President said it is incumbent upon the present generation to solve problems at the onset, instead of remaining indifferent.

“This generation has the responsibility of maintaining peace, and of continuing the pursuit of widespread prosperity,” he said.

Lessons of war

Addressing Filipino war veterans and their survivors, Aquino said, “By commemorating this Day of Valor, we reflect upon the lessons of history, so that we may learn to never repeat its failures, and instead move forward together towards that which we seek to accomplish. After three generations, with the blessing of hindsight, we clearly know the causes that led to the world wars.”

During World War II, more than a million Filipinos died. Of that number, more than 70,000 perished during the Bataan Death March, which started on April 9, 1942.

READ: Memories, life lessons: Stories from World War II veterans

Aquino said he looks up to war veterans who chose peace “instead of bearing grudges.”

After the war, former enemies like the United States and Japan started forging partnerships.

“Is it not true that even the victors and survivors needed to rebuild from the ashes? From such an insight, the opportunity rose: Because of their decision, adversaries became partners,” Aquino said.

The President took the opportunity to thank the US and Japan, as well as other nations, for always aiding the country during times of calamity.

In their respective speeches, the ambassadors of the US and Japan reiterated their support for the Philippines.

Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa, in behalf of his country, apologized for all who suffered during the war.

“We all remember and never forget what happened here,” he said.

He pointed out that now Japan and the Philippines are partners in trade and development. IDL, KS

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Aquino, veterans mark ‘Araw ng Kagitingan’ in Bataan

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TAGS: ally, Araw ng Kagitingan, Bangsamoro Basic Law, Bataan, Bataan Day, BBL, Benigno Aquino III, Day of Valor, former enemy, Mamasapano, MILF, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, peace, peace process, World War II
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