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25 SEPTEMBER 2008
ROMULO TO OVERSEE PREPARATIONS FOR RP HOSTING IN 2009 OF SPECIAL NAM MINISTERIAL MEETING ON INTERFAITH DIALOGUE
NEW YORK—President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has directed Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo to oversee the preparations for the country’s hosting of the Special Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Ministerial Meeting on Inter-Faith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace and Development (MMIFDC-PD) in May next year.
A total of 118 heads of state or governments have already acceded to the Philippines’ offer to host the NAM-MMIFDC-PD. The country made the offer during the 14th NAM Summit in Havana, Cuba in September 2006.
Romulo’s designation as lead NAM meeting officer was contained in Administrative Order No. 238 which the President signed on 28 August, two weeks before she left for New York to address the opening session of the 63rd United Nations General Assembly where she also invited the heads of states assembled to the NAM ministerial meeting in the Philippines.
“We maintain high hopes in interfaith dialogue as a means to build bridges rather than barriers between communities of different cultures and ethnicity,” the President said in her speech before the General Assembly on 23 September.
“In continuation of this effort, the Philippines will host the first-ever Special Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue for Cooperation and Development in May next year,” she added.
In the same speech, the President thanked the UN, the European Union, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and at least nine countries for the role they played in advancing peace and development in Mindanao.
She also informed the world body that her administration is refocusing the peace talks “from one that is centered on dialogues with rebels, for one of authentic dialogues with the communities, (and that) the context of our engagement with all armed groups shall subscribe to the UN-recognized principle of demobilization, disarmament and reintegration (DDR).”
In AO 238, the President stressed that “inter-faith initiatives have always been the cornerstone of Philippine policy and, as such, the Philippine government created and maintained the enabling environment which will ultimately lead towards peace and development.”
She added that “the Philippines has always maintained its lead on inter-faith initiatives in the international community.” This is evidenced by three world events that the Philippine government has so far hosted since 2005.
These are the Philippines’ “successful chairing of the First Informal Meeting of World Leaders on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace in the United Nations in September 2005; the hosting of the Second Dialogue on Regional Interfaith Cooperation for Peace, Development and Human Dignity on March 2006 in Cebu; the launching and chairmanship of the Tripartite Forum on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace; and the continuous advocacy of the General Assembly Resolution on the Promotion of Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Dialogue, Understanding and Cooperation for Peace since 2004.
The President underscored the “need to constitute a national committee to organize and carry out efficiently and effectively all the scheduled activities relative to the hosting of the Special NAM Meeting.”
Under AO 238, the local governments of Manila and Pasay, together with 13 national government offices and agencies will provide support for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in organizing the NAM ministerial meeting.
These are the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES), the Departments of Budget and Management (DBM), Education (DepEd), Finance (DOF), Interior and Local Governments (DILG), National Defense (DND), Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Tourism (DOT), Trade and Industry (DTI), Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Office of the Press Secretary (OPS), Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Presidential Council for Values Formation (PCVF), and the Presidential Security Group (PSG)
ELMER G. CATO Second Secretary & Press Officer Philippine Mission to the United Nations 556 Fifth Avenue, Fifth Floor New York, New York 10036 Tel. No. 212.764.1300 Extension 38
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