Some men find their destiny on the road they took to avoid it.
And they shall beat their swords into Stratocasters.
No this is not written in ancient religious texts.
But the sight of those terrifying meat cleavers transforming into Fender electric guitars make peace indeed a celebratory feast.
Peace in our time, in the here and now na. Peace not only with our friends and neighbors but peace with those who took arms and fought us in their strauggle for a different way of life, belief, and spiritual salvation.
And this is being made possible by a President who is committed to a lasting, just, and meaningful settlement of conflict with all armed and organized rebel groups in the country.
And so one small stride was taken this week by the President that is bound to translate into one gigantic leap into history for the nation.
True to his campaign promise, President Duterte on Monday took a significant step forward in his desire to bring lasting peace in Mindanao by signing an executive order establishing an expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission that will ensure a more inclusive peace process in the region.
The EO reconstituted and expanded the current BTC membership from 15 to 21 -- with 11 members, including the chair, coming from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and 10 members nominated by the government.
The body is tasked to craft an enabling law that will ensure a more inclusive peace process by accommodating more voices in the process of implementing the Bangsamoro accords.
President Duterte has directed that since there is only one Bangsamoro, the provisions not yet implemented in the 1996 agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front and the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro with the MILF be consolidated into one enabling law.
In view of this, the government has agreed to include among its nominees three members from the MNLF.
The BTC is expected to submit the draft law to Congress in the middle of next year.
Present during the signing of the EO were Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and other members of the Cabinet; MILF Chairman Al Haj Ebrahim Murad and members of the MILF Central Committee; GPH Implementing Panel Chair Irene Santiago; MILF Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal; Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez; members of the Diplomatic Corps; and other distinguished guests.
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The government can count on the organized local fireworks industry to adhere to internationally accepted production standards to ensure the quality, reliability, and safety of pyrotechnic products sold in the country.
What industry regulators and law enforcer should watch out for are smugglers and fly-by-night or underground manufacturers which churn out unregulated, poor, substandard, and highly dangerous firecrackers.
Legitimate industry players said these illicit importers/traders and manufacturers are raking in multi-million peso profits at the expense of legitimate pyrotechnics producers while at the same time endangering public health, safety, and security.
Record showed that most of the Christmas holiday injuries were accounted for by oversized, extremely powerful, and usually smuggled firecrackers.
And as the country prepares to usher in the long Christmas holidays, legitimate fireworks makers are deeply concerned of an upsurge in the smuggling of contraband pyrotechnics.
In fact, the Bureau of Customs recently seized P5M worth of fireworks made in China and smuggled into the country via the port of Misamis Oriental.
According to the BoC, the shipment was declared as “drinking glasses” and was marked “made in Bulacan” to mislead the authorities.
As this developed, the BoC has started to closely monitor warehouses on the province which are largely suspected of being used by smugglers as storage facilities for the contraband.
Because of this, legitimate fireworks producers are calling for a full regulation of the industry to ensure public safety and welfare.
They want assurance that all industry players must play by the rules in order to stay in business.
Industry’s stakeholders have agreed that a tighter state enforcement is a better option than a total ban on production.
The industry as a long unreached tradition in making Filipino events and occasions more festive and memorable.
Industry pioneers have invested a modest fortune in factories or production facilities, employed and trained thousands of people, spawned other smaller businesses which supplied raw materials equipment parts and accessories.
The industry also greatly boosted local host communities wherein these factories or plants operated.
Lastly, even the government benefited from the legitimate producers in terms of taxes and other dues paid to the state.
And so government is well-advised to protect and promote legitimate fireworks producers through a more effective, efficient regulation.
In fact, even President Duterte himself is convinced that the legitimate industry players deserve to keep their business.
Citing possible loss of livelihood and its impact on the Filipino tradition, the president is rethinking his plan to impose a ban on firecrackers.
The President told a Cabinet meeting that he wanted to take a second look on the effects of the ban on stakeholders, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.
Andanar said the Cabinet is expected to submit a revised executive order for Duterte’s consideration.
Duterte earlier said he would consult his Cabinet members before issuing an EO on the firecrackers ban.
Fireworks stakeholders said the industry should instead come up with measures to strengthen the implementation of the law regulating the sale, distribution and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices.
Duterte imposed a firecracker ban when he was mayor of Davao City to avoid fatalities and injuries.
Behold God’s glory and seek His mercy.
Post and pray, people.