Reject war, pursue peace, liberalism and democracy: Belmonte

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. today called on the nation’s youth to
reject war and to rebuff those who espouse it, and steadfastly pursue
the cause of peace, liberalism and democracy.

“There is no denying the gravity of problems facing the nation, the
most pronounced of which is the long-drawn out rebellion and arms
conflict which has condemned communities into a life of fear,
uncertainty and abject poverty,” Belmonte stressed.

“Peace will not happen by accident.  Peace is not the absence of war,
peace is justice, peace is good governance, peace is public
accountability, peace is economic stability and prosperity.  What the
region needs are more leaders who will not only serve the cause of
peace but leaders who will wage war against poverty, corruption and
injustice,” Belmonte added.

Speaker Belmonte and H.E. Harry K. Thomas, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to the
Philippines presided over the completion ceremony for the 27
graduate-members of the 12th Batch of the Congressional Internship
Program for Young Mindanao Leaders (CIPYML) held at the Andaya Hall,
Batasan Complex, Thursday.

“The aims of the Program are laudable, namely to contribute to the
development of a culture of peace in Mindanao and respect for the
country’s democratic processes, and to develop a new breed of leaders
in your region with a broad understanding of national issues and
governance processes,” Belmonte said.

In his congratulatory message, Ambassador Thomas said the program
affords the young Mindanao leaders the rare opportunity to learn first
hand the intricacies of good governance and policy legislation which
textbooks can’t possibly teach them in a short span of time.

The American envoy, likewise urged the young Muslim interns to be the
role-models for the young people in their respective areas in Mindanao
and the country in general, stressing that “the future depends on
you!”

The 12th group to complete the internship project, Belmonte noted, is
made possible under the Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program
of the House of Representatives and the US Agency for International
Development.

Since its inception, the program has graduate 273 young leaders from
the Mindanao region in cooperation with the Mindanao State University
(MSU) and the UP National College of Public Administration and
Governance (UPNCPAG).

On the part of the House of Representatives, a management committee,
composed of four departments – the Office of the Secretary General
headed by Sec. Gen. Marilyn Barua-Yap, the Administrative Department,
the Committee Affairs Department (CAD) and the Congressional Policy
and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) – have been organized to ensure
that the young Mindanao leader-interns get the most out of their three
months on-the-job training-exposure in congress.

Sec. Gen. Yap revealed that this year, “with our partners, the
USAID-GEM, the UP-NCPAG and the MSU – we have incorporated strategic
enrichment modifications to the program to ensure that the four months
of immersion (of interns) in the academic or theoretical and the
practical challenges of policy making in the House of Representatives
equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to engage
meaningfully in the development endeavors in their respective
communities.”

As tangible proof of how well the interns performed, Sec. Gen. Yap
proudly noted their policy papers on current significant national
issues and concerns which have been compiled and published and now
constitute valuable contributions to the stream of policy making and
development in the country.

In response to the flowing accolades, Mr. Ar-Nusharief E. Hassiman,
valedictorian of the CIPVML Batch 12, hit the mark when he declared
that what matter are not the differences among Filipinos but what
makes all the same.

“It is not what makes us different from each other that is important
but what makes us the same.” Hassiman said as he enjoined his
co-graduates: “Let us not forget that making the most of everything
that we have now should always be directed to the pleasure of God, not
for worldly gains and to the service of others, not for selfish
interest.”

The young leader ended by praying “May God grant you all with
goodness.  May we all be assets in the world of Islamic
Professionals.”

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