After most of our God-centered thoughts during the last Holy Week, we felt there is need today for new initiatives for peace, renewal, and development in our country, and what immediately comes to mind is to revive our old proposal for a “Government of National Unity.”

The other choice of other more extreme advisers is for President Duterte to declare a “Revolutionary Government.”

A revolutionary government has its strategic uses but after a time, after goals are achieved at great cost, it is usually difficult for the Revolutionary Leader to disengage from authoritarian rule and return the nation to normalcy.

Perhaps without seriously aiming to, in meandering thoughts, when he spoke on the eve of Holy Week, of re-establishing in effect diplomatic ties with the Liberal Party of Vice-President Leni Robredo, Mar Roxas, Frank Drilon, and Francis Pangilinan, former Vice-President Jojo Binay and his group, and other friends, the Villars, and other foes in the Nacionalista Party, etc., he was perhaps really thinking, why not be friends with everyone, with Charity for all and malice towards none in the whole nation, which the Filipino people can only applaud and support.

Anyway, the President has declared publicly he will stay only for one complete six-year Constitutional term.

Under a largely conflict-free government of national unity, the President can then and should address the following:

Finalize and implement a peace agreement in Mindanao with the MILF, while keeping the existing pact with the MNLF, start and complete the full-scale rebuilding of the devastated Marawi City, and finish off the diminished Abu Sayaf in Sulu and Basilan or to allow the least guilty to return to the fold of the law;

Advance to the final stage the surrender of firearms and full demobilization by the New People’s Army and integrate some of their units into the Armed Forces and appointment of one or two of their leaders in the Cabinet;

Complete the Constitutional process for the adoption of the Federal system of government nationwide;

Negotiate and finalize an agreement with China and Vietnam for joint-exploration and development in the South China Sea to be followed by similar arangements with Malaysia, and Brunei;

Full-scale infrastructure building, mass-housing and agriculture development; and,

Full-scale rehabilitation of the nation’s drug addicts.

Obviously all these cannot be completed during President Duterte’s term.

But full-scale development and industrialization with strategic economic dispersal in a decentralized system can begin and continued in earnest, accompanied by Constitutional reform as hopefully the various insurgencies come to an end and join the fold.

We believe Items 1 to 6 are definitely achievable, not impossible and a Government of National Unity with everyone pitching in, is the key and we should all support it.

Hon. Former Speaker of the House Jose de Venecia Jr.

Hon. Jose de Venecia, Jr. served as Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998 and from 2001 to 2008, and is Founding Chairman, International Conference of Asian Political Parties. During his distinguished career, Hon. De Venecia was instrumental in successfully securing a peace agreement with the secessionist Moro National Liberation Front in southern Philippines and in forging a ceasefire and a peace pact with the rebellious Armed Forces group, RAM-YOU. He also revived the imperiled and long-stalled peace process with the communist National Democratic Front-New People’s Army, and progressed peace talks with the residual fundamentalist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mindanao. Hon. DeVenecia is a member of GPF’s Global Leadership Council.

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