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Rebuilding roads to peace

The Universal Peace Federation World Summit 2019 held in Seoul, Korea, concluded yesterday with former Philippine Speaker Jose de Venecia delivering a message on the theme “Peace, Security and Human Development.”

He congratulated Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, co-founder of Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and founder of the celebrated Sunhak Peace Prize, for deepening and enlarging the late Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s sustained commitment and tireless efforts in promoting peace, reconciliation and unity, and interfaith dialogues.

De Venecia, founding chair of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), touched on the need for peace in Northeast Asia, most specifically in the Korean Peninsula and in the South and East China Seas.

He said the summit was being held at a crucial time, with two contrary impulses pulling at every new state in the developing world: the first on the “elite impulse to centralize political power,” and the other “stemming from ethnic nationalism as people forcibly put together by colonialist powers seek to rally round some icon symbol of unique group identity.”

Less than a century after independence, most of the fledgling democratic societies set up so grandiosely had reverted to authoritarian regime of various intensities.

He pointed to China’s being a model of a new “mixed economy” under state direction and control. And it has succeeded. The Beijing model has resulted in an unprecedented growth for China and in some respects appears to be superior to the western model. Consequently, China sees itself as rising in economic, military and diplomatic power. “This phenomenon is transforming the world order: the center of global gravity shifting from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”

Despite the occasional harsh rhetoric on both sides of the 38th Parallel, de Venecia believes governments, parliaments, political parties, civil society organizations and religious groups must encourage and support direct talks between Seoul and Pyongyang.

Over and above the giving up of its nuclear weapons, it would be realpolitik, said De Venecia, to expect that North Korea would hope for an iron-clad Omnibus Agreement leading to a Permanent Peace Treaty, with the South and the US that could likely include: North Korea and South Korea remaining as independent republics, but connected together by a loose confederation, until at some point in the near or distant future, they can consider uniting like the two Vietnams or the two Germanys; withdrawal of US troops from South Korea; withdrawal of large North Korean and South Korean troops from the areas of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in the 38th Parallel to make the DMZ really demilitarized; develop inter-Korea commercial flights, highways, and a common railway system; develop close political and economic relations between North and South and with China, Japan, the US, Russia and ASEAN and work with the UN system and the global community.

“We in Asia and the global community acknowledge and applaud the forthright efforts of US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, consistently supported by the South Korean President Moon Jae-In, which have the potential for a breakthrough, hopefully sooner than later, towards a final peace in the Korean Peninsula.”

Today the basic fact is that the distribution of power in the world is fast-changing – particularly in East Asia and the Korean Peninsula must adapt to these ephocal transformations. De Venecia cited Vietnam as having emerged from three difficult successive wars, lifted its people from poverty to become today a rising peaceful economic power; there is how the two Germanys emerged from Cold War confrontation and totally united under then Chancellor Helmut Kohl, to become today the predominant economic power in Europe, and China (under Deng Xiaoping), “opened China to the world, lifted more than 500 million people from poverty and introduced appreciable elements of free enterprise capitalism to China’s socialist economy, propelling China to the second largest in the global economy with the potential to become No. 1 within 10-15 years.”

In his view, the immediate task of the parliaments and mainstream political parties of the Republic of Korea and the Communist Korean Workers’ Party (KWP) of the North, aided by the parliaments, political parties, civil society and business leaders of the global community, is to draw up a clear, distinct and workable map toward unification.

De Venecia said the raging conflict in the South China Sea, West Philippine Sea to the Filipinos, and East Sea to the Vietnamese, with conflicting sovereignty claims, may be settled by temporarily shelving the issue of sovereignty, as earlier proposed by Deng Xiaoping: revive the Seismic Survey Agreement signed by China, the Philippines and Vietnam, which De Venecia had initiated in 2004; undertake joint oil/gas exploration and joint development with an equitable sharing of production and profits; designate “fishing corridors”; demilitarize the disputed islets through the phased withdrawal of armed garrisons, and convert the zone of conflict into a zone of Peace, Friendship, Cooperation and Development.

“This is perhaps the most realistic, most commonsensical solution to the problem of the Spratlys and Paracels, and which could subsequently be joined by Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan, and could also be the solution to the problem between China and Japan in the Senkaku Straits or Diaoyu in the East China Sea.

Easier said than done, said de Venecia, “but this is now the time to consider the practical, principled commonsensical win-win compromises necessary for the geopolitical settlements in the China Sea.

“Here in our meeting in Seoul, we know the journey will be difficult. The journey will be long. But the rewards at the journey’s end will more than justify every tear, every hurt, every fall.”

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Wenifredo Lauge Militante Sr., one of Gingoog City’s prominent residents, has passed away at the age of 84. Attending vigil services for him were well-known government officials led by Mayor Marie Guingona and her mother, Vice Mayor Ruth de Lara Guingona, and businessmen and professionals.

Originally a resident of Medina, a town some 15 kilometers away from Gingoog,Wenifredo left behind his wife Alice Tan Militante and four children who have made names in their chosen professions.

The eldest son, Wayne, a former city councilor and now a provincial board member, said his father, son of a Chinese and a Filipino mother, led a hard life in China, and when he became a father, impressed upon his children the virtues of hard work and honesty. Wayne has three children by his wife, Helen, who is captain of Barangay 21.

Daughter Ayesa, a medical doctor, flew all the way from the United States, where she works as anesthesiologist at Edgewood, Kentucky, bringing with her the consoling message of her husband, Nestor Hilvano, a medical doctor who is teaching at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, and of their children Nathan and Ariel.

Second daughter Alitha Corrales has a dental clinic in the city. Her father, she said, was a disciplinarian but also a loving father, taking the family to outings, and teaching them to ride the bike, and drive the family car. She is married to Melchor Corrales, by whom she has three kids, Nicole, Martin Christian, and Michael Carlo.

The youngest, Winfred Jr., a city kagawad and husband of Tiziana, has five children. He said at a memorial service at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines church that his father “lived a full life.”

Sitting quietly in a pew, was Alice Militante, a gentle lady who once served as city councilor. She grew up in Loboc, Bohol, took up commerce at the Rafael Palma College in Tagbilaran, and helped her husband run a flourishing business conglomerate in Gingoog.

The Militantes are active members of the UCCP church, where three members are city kagawads, namely Winfred Militante Jr., Myrna Motoomul and Mai-Mai Mercado.

Incidentally, I met two women last Saturday at the Pahayahay promenade who were appointed by the Guingonas to run as kagawads in the coming May elections. They are Wen Teatro, a retired school supervisor, and Del Ubalde, a retired city assessor.

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Email: dominitorrevillas@gmail.com

Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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