Philippines’s Arroyo makes strong pitch for interfaith dialogue

May. 28, 2007

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Via PLDT) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Monday made a strong pitch for the promotion of interfaith dialogue to bring about lasting peace, political stability and economic growth in Asia.

In a statement, the President asserted that far from being an abstract theory, interfaith dialogue is a “major contributor to peace and stability in the historically-troubled South Mindanao region.”

“In Mindanao, we have taken steps to bring interfaith forces to bear upon a peace process that has resulted in a three-year ceasefire and monumental strides in economic growth,” she SAID.

Extolling New Zealands role in the Mindanao Trust Fund, the President also hailed the key role New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark plays in fostering interfaith dialogue in the resolution of conflicts, the promotion of peace and economic growth.

The Mindanao Trust Fund is intended for the development of Mindanao.

“I am here as a follower and participant to promote interfaith collaboration in education, security, social development and media,” she said

The President said that apart from its assistance to Mindanao, New Zealand plays a major role in East Asias “determined journey of consolidation since last year.”

“As chair of the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), I have witnessed the warming of ties between Asean, China and Japan within the context of common prosperity and collective security,” she said.

She pointed out that “East Asia is coming of age in this millennium as a global leader for equitable trade with a clear social dividend and solid security with a soft touch. Our relations with New Zealand are incorporated in this paradigm.”

Noted for its commitment to human rights, protection of the environment, peace and interfaith dialogue, New Zealand brings to East Asia, the “soft strategies that guarantee peace, reinforcing the hard elements such as joint military training and law enforcement operations that we share with allies like Australia and the United States,” the President said. (OPS) (

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