ARROYO SEES CRUCIAL ROLE OF RELIGIOUS GROUPS IN RECONCILIATION  EFFORT 

MANILA,  October 1, 2004
(STAR)
Malacañang Friday said President Gloria Arroyo acknowledges the crucial role of religious groups in forging national unity and reconciliation and thereby opening the way for the country’s progress.

In a radio interview this morning, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said Pres. Arroyo has accepted the offer of several religious leaders led by Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Archbishop Fernando Capalla to act as facilitators between conflicting parties.

"The President believes that the religious sector will be effective in serving as facilitators or go-between among the various conflicting parties," Bunye said in Filipino.

Bunye pointed out that in her inaugural address and state of the nation address (SONA), the President stressed her desire to speed up the reconciliation process and end, once and for all, the conflicts, friction, and animosities among the various sectors of society.

These groups, Bunye said, include the New People’s Army (NPA), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the EDSA 1 & 2 forces, and other contending forces.

He said Pres. Arroyo believes that it would be a lot easier for the country to hurdle its problems if the people are united in common purpose for the progress of the country.

From the Office of the Press Secretary, Malacananwww.ops.gov.ph:

*Statement of Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye: Magdalo

Our unity and reconciliation efforts are premised on the principle of justice.

Laws were violated and the military chain of command was breached by the mutiny, and the officers themselves have expressed unconditional readiness to face the consequences of their actions.

At this point, what the President has offered as a healing measure is greater leniency for those who were misled by their superior into joining the mutiny.

Discussions on other reconciliatory measures are premature.

*Statement of Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye: Tax reform measures

Our tax reform package is necessary to continuously breathe life into the stability of our economy and to keep us on track in our growth targets.

Achieving fiscal stability would benefit the nation’s poor.

We are confident that Congress will continue to contribute to our recovery.

For its part, the executive branch has already put in place drastic cost cutting and tax enforcement measures.

*Statement of Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye: Filipino children in Sabah

The government has already taken steps to protect these children and to reunite them with their families soonest.

We appreciate the assistance being extended by the Malaysian authorities, and our Commission on Human Rights is working closely with the DFA on this matter.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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