Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Irish Parliamentarian visits Lanao del Norte

By: Vincent N. Labial

TUBOD, Lanao del Norte, Sept. 14 (PIA) – Eager to share the peace-building lessons from their Good Friday Agreement which effectively brought peace to Ireland and Northern Ireland, Irish Parliament member Dominic Hannigan visited this province last Sept.9.

Hannigan arrived in the Philippines, last Aug. 29, for a 3-week volunteering assignment with VSO under its Parliamentarian Voluteering Scheme.

As a member of the Parliament, holding a position equivalent to that of the Senate President in the Philippine Government, Hannigan was also, recently, made Chairperson of the Committee for the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement in Ireland.

Also known as the Belfast Agreement, the 65-page pact, signed in 1998, sought to address relationships within Northern Ireland, between Northern Ireland and the Republic and between both parts of Ireland and England, Scotland and Wales.

“The road to peace is long and bumpy and there are road blocks along the way, but the benefits of peace far outweigh the benefits of conflicts,” Hannigan stressed.

Hannigan’s volunteering stint hopes to shed light on the ongoing negotiation between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) through specific examples on how peace was achieved in Ireland.

“The visit of Hannigan further strengthens the importance of establishing peace here in Mindanao. Peace benefits all of us, not only here in the province but all of Mindana,” Lanao Norte Governor Khalid Dimaporo expressed.

According to the historical recount of former congressman Abdullah Dimaporo, conflicts in the province is often the result of land disputes and claims on ancestral domain.

The visit of the Irish lawmaker is envisioned by its organizers to strengthen the resolve of the peace process stakeholders to actively look for a common ground to pursue lasting and sustained peace in Mindanao and in the region.

“Peace is our priority here in Lanao del Norte. We hope that sooner or later the armed-conflict will end,” Gov. Dimaporo concluded. (PIO/PIA-10)

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