Taking full advantage of the opportunity for peace in the Philippines will require a sustained effort on the part of central and local governments, by the rebel movements, as well as in civil society and the business community, over many years. Some of the factors they will need to take into account were identified at by our taxi driver last night.
As I type, the death toll in the Philippines stands at a suspected 1,200 people, with an expectation that that number can only grow. Bodies lie in rivers; towns have been razed to the ground thanks to Typhoon Haiyan wreaking havoc across a country that needs no introduction to the devastation a natural disaster can cause. Having family living in Manila myself, I am used to paying more attention than the average Brit each time the country makes headlines, whether that be for earthquakes, kidnappings, civil unrest or charges of corruption. This time round, the whole world has its focus.
Nearly 780,000 villagers are now living in the ruins of their homes or in evacuation centres - more than the population of Leeds. The current level of assistance is nothing compared to the needs despite scores of Filipino citizens volunteering their time and personal resources, adding to the response by government, UN and non-governmental agencies.