Investing for Peace
Top business leaders and heads of development organizations met in a business forum organized by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) chaired by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) with the hardworking and forward thinking Rafael Lopa as executive director.
In his welcome remarks, MVP acknowledged that everyone shares “a common vision that while political empowerment is key to sustainable peace, improvement of lives through jobs and livelihood are indispensable elements, that will complete the circle of welfare. Peace and development go hand in glove; one is neither sequential to, nor independent of, the other. As businessmen, we can also be bearers of peace. It is indeed time for deliverance for Mindanao, from its perils and poverty.”
For his part, head of the Economic Cluster of the National Summit Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala urged the Manila-based community to initiate a dialogue with the Bangsamoro leaders.
Businessmen are ready to invest today and don’t wait to wait any longer, disclosed Unifrutti Group Philippines chairman John Perrine. In fact, agricultural companies committed $366 million for agriculture, and this is expected to open up as many 22,000 jobs. “Amid some fears that no one will go, no one will invest, these are the people that are ready to invest in the region today, now. They say the problem is lack of jobs, but this is something that would provide livelihood to the people in Bangsamoro,” Perrine stated.
Peace in Mindanao has been elusive; the long-running war has exacted immense loss of lives and property. Like a thief, the absence of peace had snatched away the dreams of Mindanaoans for a better life. But let us not allow these harsh realities to weaken our resolve to attain long lasting peace.
The alternative is not acceptable. If there is anything that history taught us, it is that war – stripped of its romantic or heroic notions – creates widows and orphans.
The forum provided a great opportunity for those in business to unite and join hands in ensuring peace in the war torn areas of Mindanao.