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February 23, 2019

Let us hold on to the Union Spirit

Amicable and harmonious Panglong Agreement was successfully reached in a small town of Panglong, Southern Shan State, between the Myanmar government under Bogyoke Aung San and the ethnic nationalities namely Shan, Kachin, and Chin peoples on 12 February 1947 last (72) years ago, paving the way for the emergence of the Union of Myanmar.
Joyful and pleasant celebrations are held yearly across the country in accordance with the historic tradition, and that it is just approaching to rejoice the 72nd anniversary of Union Day on 12 February 2019.
Unbreakable and solid nature of the “Panglong Agreement” was the sole foundation for building the sovereign and Independent nation of the Union of Myanmar that stands out with delight and pride on this planet.
Road to freedom was not a bed of roses but the hard struggle and the journey was bumpy and tough, being acknowledged by all the nationalities in the country.
Colonialism in the 19th century had created empires on this earth, and that British ruled in Myanmar, also known as British Burma. It was lasted from 1824 to 1948 from the three Anglo-Burmese wars through the creation of Myanmar as a Province of British India to the establishment of an independently administered colony.
Exactly on the very day that Myanmar had gone down into servitude, the patriotic nationalities across the nation grabbed whatever weapons available and revolted the rulers continuously.
Adding the momentum, the Thirty Comrades constituted the embryo of the modern Burmese army called the Burma Independence Army (BIA) headed by Bogyoke Aung San showed the daring and adventurous self-sacrifices for the country with a strong push in regaining the independence of the nation.
Eventually, with many conditions and circumstances inside and outside of the country, on 8 November 1946, the AFPFL demanded certain agreements from the British Government, and therefore, Bogyoke Aung San was invited to Britain in November 1946 for negotiation. Subsequently on 27 January 1947, the historic Aung San – Atlee Agreement was successfully signed.
Due to a clause specified in the important Panglong agreement, it had necessitated to call and organize a meeting to determine that the local population in the frontier areas and hilly regions accorded and agreed in acquiring the independence of the country.
Therefore, a meeting was held by Bogyoke Aung San and national leaders in Panglong on 9 February 1947. Despite some difficulties were encountered during the meeting, the wisdom and benevolence of Bogyoke Aung San and the leaders of nationalities, the long awaited Panglong Agreement was successfully signed, and finally the nation become independence and sovereign.
Liberty was there, but the full essence of independence was deprived off for the public, as the development of the country was stagnated. The writer of this article would like to share five points with regards to the nation in the endeavor for continuous development by structuring a developed and democratic federal state.

Our Three Main National Causes
It is our duty to maintain and preserve the independence and sovereignty of the nation being handed down to us by Bogyoke Aung San and leaders of nationalities. If we failed to defend the sovereignty of the nation, then we would be very much irresponsible as the citizens, and that it might be tantamount to disloyalty to Bogyoke Aung San and our ancestors.
Sovereignty and stability of the nation mainly depends on the unity and harmony of the entire nationalities which could be seen clearly in the chronicle of Myanmar.
The shared major duty is residing within the Union with unity and safeguarding Our Three Main National Causes. The three major duties namely, Non disintegration of the Union; Non-disintegration of national solidarity; and Perpetuation of sovereignty is the shared duty which each citizen has to safeguard forever. All the national brethren have to perform and safeguard this duty in unison based on Panglong Conference and Panglong Spirit.

Emergence of constitution in line with the democratic federal union
Following the cancellation and termination of the 1947 constitution and the 1974 constitution, the 2008 constitution stands out and is legally in force.
Since the constitutions were crafted and adopted by the human beings, the changes might occur when time and circumstances called for annulment through the law of nature.
Moreover, the contents of the constitution are not absolute truths, and therefore, when the ingredients and the quintessence are not in line with the time and the democratic norms, then the documents are in need of changes.
On 16 October 2016, the government announced the roadmap for national reconciliation and Union peace as follows.
1. To review the political dialogue framework;
2. To amend the political dialogue framework;
3. To convene the Union Peace Conference—the 21st century Panglong in accordance with the amended and approved political dialogue framework;
4. To sign union agreement— the 21st century Panglong Conference Agreement based on the results of the 21st Century Panglong Conference;
5. To amend the constitution in accordance with the union agreement and approve the amended constitution;
6. To hold the multi-party democracy general elections in accordance with the amended and approved constitution;
7. To build a democratic federal union in accordance with the results of the multi-party democracy general elections;
When it comes to drafting a new Constitution, if we miss the chance to usher in change at the right time, then we will move away from basic federal norms and upset the relationship between the superstructure and the economic base. Therefore, we must work hard to formulate a new Constitution that is in line with the principles of a democratic federal Union.

For successful internal peace process
Acquiring the continuous development of the nation, the incumbent government has implemented the following points such as that of the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong; that of the Union Accord which would have 51 agreed points; that of ten EAOs having signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA); that of the upcoming Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong expecting to bring more union accords; that of more Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) are expected to come forward in signing the NCA. The arrival of (70) years time could be evaluated and assessed as most favorable and successful condition.
Stepping ahead with the union spirit in the upcoming Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong, the “Internal Peace” would be the rewarding trophy in our hands.

Rule of Law
Rule of law is necessary for the society and that it protects the citizens through judiciary system which includes not only the law enforcement agencies but also the people of the country. Rule of law means the application of the good law being upheld by the judiciary, the government, and the people.
Security of the people has the wider scope of aspects and duty, and that the entire people must involve in the scheme with “unity and harmony”, otherwise the sovereignty of the nation would be compromised.

Better education and adequate healthcare
21st century is being termed as education age, and that the education would lead the society to the better future. Under the UN Millennium Goal, there are 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world.
The Goal (4) is Quality Education among the (17) developments and that “Quality Education for All” has been adopted and all the member countries are implementing the goal on education.
On the part of our nation, Myanmar National Education Strategic Plan 2016-2021 has been approved, enabling greater access, quality and equity in the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system. Education Strategy has been adopted and that systematic changes and implementation is underway.
The academic year 2018-2019 has been allocated with (2175) billion Kyats so as to reduce the dropouts and uplift the general conditions of the schools with new recruitments of teachers in the whole of the country. It is heartening to know that the federal education system would be opened up for all the students in the country.
With regards to the national health care of the country in two prongs such as that of objectives of MOH are as follows.
1. To enable every citizen to attain full life expectancy and enjoy longevity;
2. To ensure that every citizen is free from diseases.

The other two schemes such as that of (a) providing quality health care of urban and rural populations; (b) hospital based treatment plan and actual field trip and treatment among the population.
The added budget allocation could be noted that of 2018-2019 at (1131) billion Kyats enabling the healthcare to certain extent of standard level.
In wrapping up the situation based on the Union spirit, Bogyoke Aung San and the ancestors had handed us with the “Union Legacy” with their sweat, blood and lives.

Union Day National Objectives
1. All ethnic nationals to work with collective strength for non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of national unity, perpetuation of national sovereignty; and to work for preservation and protection of the above.
2. To strive for the emergence of a Constitution that is in alignment and harmony with the Democratic Federal Union.
3. To strive for the success of the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong and thence till the success of the internal peace process.
4. All union nationals to cooperate and work in “Unity and Harmony” for rule of law and for the people to be secure and free from danger.
5. All union citizens to be able to enjoy good education and adequate health care protection.
In conclusion, the writer of this article would like to urge that we need to preserve and protect the legacy, and moreover, in building the developed democratic federal Union, the entire nationalities must fulfilled the national objectives being laid down for the 72nd anniversary of Union Day for 2019 based on the Union Spirit. Translated by UMT (Ahlon)

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