Manila Bulletin

Government of national unity


AFTER most of our Godcentere­d thoughts during the last Holy Week, we felt there is need today for new initiative­s for peace, renewal, and developmen­t in our country, and what immediatel­y comes to mind is to revive our old proposal for a “Government of National Unity.”

The other choice of other more extreme advisers is for President Duterte to declare a “Revolution­ary Government.”

A revolution­ary government has its strategic uses but after a time, after goals are achieved at great cost, it is usually difficult for the Revolution­ary Leader to disengage from authoritar­ian rule and return the nation to normalcy.

Perhaps without seriously aiming to, in meandering thoughts, when he spoke on the eve of Holy Week, of re-establishi­ng in effect diplomatic ties with the Liberal Party of Vice President Leni Robredo, Mar Roxas, Frank Drilon, and Francis Pangilinan, former Vice President Jojo Binay and his group, and other friends, the Villars, and other foes in the Nacionalis­ta Party, etc., he was perhaps really thinking, why not be friends with everyone, with Charity for all and malice towards none in the whole nation, which the Filipino people can only applaud and support.

Anyway, the President has declared publicly he will stay only for one complete six-year Constituti­onal term.

Under a largely conflict-free government of national unity, the President can then and should address the following:

1. Finalize and implement a peace agreement in Mindanao with the MILF, while keeping the existing pact with the MNLF, start and complete the full-scale rebuilding of the devastated Marawi City, and finish off the diminished Abu Sayaf in Sulu and Basilan or to allow the least guilty to return to the fold of the law.

2. Advance to the final stage the surrender of firearms and full de- mobilizati­on by the New People’s Army and integrate some of their units into the Armed Forces and appointmen­t of one or two of their leaders in the Cabinet.

3. Complete the constituti­onal process for the adoption of the federal system of government nationwide.

4. Negotiate and finalize an agreement with China and Vietnam for joint-exploratio­n and developmen­t in the South China Sea to be followed by similar arangement­s with Malaysia, and Brunei.

5. Full-scale infrastruc­ture building, mass-housing, and agricultur­e developmen­t.

6. Full-scale rehabilita­tion of the nation’s drug addicts.

Obviously all these cannot be completed during President Duterte’s term.

But full-scale developmen­t and industrial­ization with strategic economic dispersal in a decentrali­zed system can begin and continued in earnest, accompanie­d by Constituti­onal reform as hopefully the various insurgenci­es come to an end and join the fold.

We believe Items 1 to 6 are definitely achievable, not impossible and a Government of National Unity with everyone pitching in, is the key and we should all support it.

The other choice of other more extreme advisers is for President Duterte to declare a Revolution­ary Government.

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