About Mary Francis Rivera

Maffi as her friends call, manages the digital media platforms of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. She is bossy - not in a pejorative way but being bossy and tenacious means she is passionate, goal driven, and ambitious. She loves films, filmmaking, books and anything about design, and hates serif.

Dureza: Biggest peace gain is support of the people

QUEZON CITY, September 3, 2018 – Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza today showcased the gains of the peace process since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016, saying the biggest gain of peace work is that “we have arisen the attention and support of the ordinary people.”

“That is very important. We can sign a lot of agreements but if the people do not support it, nothing can be achieved,” he said.

OPAPP formally opened this year’s National Peace Consciousness Month today with the ringing of the World Peace Bell at the Quezon City Memorial Circle.

For his part, Deputy Presidential Peace Adviser Undersecretary Nabil A. Tan called for unity in the pursuit of peace in the country.

“We are one in working to end internal armed conflicts and more importantly, resolution of root causes that enables unpeace,” he said.

Tan said the theme of this year’s celebration — “Mithiing Kapayapaan, Sama-Samang Isakatuparan” — is “a call for participative, collective, and inclusive approach towards our shared aspiration for a just, comprehensive and enduring peace” in the country.

Also present during the event was Eva Patalinjug, newly installed National Peace Ambassador and winner of Binibining Pilipinas 2017.

Patalinjug said she believes “we can bestow our future generation the light of peace and instead of darkness.”

“We can really stop war and violence and we can raise the message and awareness of peace,” she added.


Moving peace forward

A State of the Peace Process report prepared by OPAPP cited the successful passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) last July as one of the gains of the Duterte administration.

The BOL, which is under the political track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), will provide meaningful autonomy and pave way for peace and development for all sectors in the Bangsamoro.

The government also supports the call of the Cordillerans for autonomy. In the early part of 2017, OPAPP submitted a memorandum to President Duterte requesting that House Bill No. 5343 and Senate Bill No. 1678, both titled “An Act Establishing The Autonomous Region of The Cordillera (ARC),” be included in the administration’s priority legislative agenda.

Aside from the legislative support, social protection is also guaranteed for former Cordillera People’s Liberation Army combatants.

Meanwhile, the peace process with the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas-Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB) continues to yield gains such as Community Peace Dividends that will jumpstart sustainable process of development in 100 barangays.


Peace and development

The OPAPP report said the PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) continues to implement peace-promoting, catch-up socio-economic interventions in the countryside to ensure development in conflict-affected and conflict vulnerable areas.

For 2017-2018, the national government allotted a total P15.376 billion for the PAMANA program to improve governance, empower communities, and strengthen their capacity to address issues of conflict

The government is also implementing the National Action Plan for Women, Peace and Security 2017-2022 as part of its commitment to the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) 1325 and 1820 which addresses the situation of women in conflict areas and recognizes their roles in conflict transformation.

Another platform is the People’s Peace Table which ensures peoples’ participation in the peace process. It provides democratic space for continuing dialogues between the government and community stakeholders to surface, discuss, and clarify issues and concerns that are at the root of, result from, or affect the peace process.

The Indigenous People Peace Panel (IPPP), which was created in 2017, serves as an avenue for IP leaders to contribute to the development of GRP-NDFP and Bangsamoro Peace Process, as well as reinforce mechanisms and participation of IP convergence efforts by the government.

For the youth, the Youth Peace Table (YPT) was created to gather young peace advocates to further explore their capacities in building a culture of peace and conflict sensitivity.

OPAPP also responded to the Marawi incident last year by being at the frontline in the early recovery and rehabilitation of the city. Aside from being part of Task Force Bangon Marawi, OPAPP is also currently working on social healing and peacebuilding programs that aim to strengthen the social cohesion of Marawi IDPs and communities affected by the siege. ###


By | September 3rd, 2018|News|0 Comments

OPAPP, NKTI, German Doctors lead medical and social healing mission in Lumad community

MARILOG DISTRICT, Davao City (August 25, 2018) — Around a thousand members of the Matigsalug tribe are expected to gather at a local infirmary here tomorrow to avail themselves of free health and social services offered by government and private sector institutions.

The medical, dental, and social healing mission is a joint undertaking of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), National Kidney Transplant Institute (NKTI), and the Buda Community Healthcare Center-Committee of German Doctors.

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said the activity is line  with the national government and private sector’s efforts to provide much-needed medical and psycho-social services to Mindanao’s indigenous peoples (IPs).

“This is our way of reaching out to the IP community. We would like to make them feel they have not been forgotten and are now a priority of the government,” Dureza said.

He noted that a majority of Mindanao’s IPs live in far-flung, underdeveloped communities. As a result, their access to health and social services have been limited.

He said this is the reason the national government’s programs aim to promote the principles of greater inclusivity and participation, especially among the vulnerable and underprivileged sectors such as the Lumad.

“Our efforts must be focused on addressing the needs of our Lumad brothers and sisters. They should be given the attention they truly deserve,” he said.

Dureza also said by uplifting the plight of the IPs, the peace and security situation in the beneficiary communities — most of which are situated conflict-affected areas — is also improved.

“Peace and development should not happen one after the other but should take place simultaneously,” he said.

Around 170 volunteers have signed up for today’s day-long medical and dental mission, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, government workers, and members of the security sector.

Other cooperators of the medical mission include the Davao Seagull Resorts Development Inc., Davao Doctors Hospital, Davao Medical School Foundation Hospital, Davao Doctors College – Pharmacy Program, City Government of Davao, Davao City Health Office, Davao City Dental Chapter, 901st Brigade, Philippine Army, and the Philippine Pharmacist Association – Davao Chapter.

OPAPP’s Conflict Prevention and Management Unit (CPMU), headed by Director Ferdinand Jovita, will also conduct social healing sessions in the Matigsalug community.

The sessions will provide a venue for residents to openly express their fears, anger, and frustrations. They are also aimed at helping victims of armed violence overcome their negative experiences.

Similar healing sessions were carried out in Marawi during and after the five-month siege last year. These sessions were instrumental in bringing back mutual trust and respect among the victims and repair the social fabric that was torn during the incident. ###


By | August 25th, 2018|News, Peoples' Peace Tables|0 Comments

67 graduate from PAMANA-funded tech-voc training

August 24, 2018, Cotabato City — A total of 67 student-beneficiaries from Shariff Saydona Mustapha and Datu Salibo received their National Certificate II from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) after successfully passing the required competency assessment for Driving NC II Course.


By | August 25th, 2018|MILF, News|0 Comments

Successful peace process leads to reduced crime rate in Zamboanga Peninsula

ZAMBOANGA CITY, August 18, 2018 – A top police official here attributed the reduction in the crime rate in the Zamboanga Peninsula to the success of the peace process in Mindanao.

“The prevailing good peace and order situation in Zamboanga Peninsula is a result of the positive effects of the peace process,” Zamboanga Peninsula Police regional director Chief Superintendent Billy Beltran said during the visit of the Joint Normalization Committee (JNC) of the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Thursday here.

Beltran said threats from Moro revolutionary groups have been drastically reduced because of the developments in the Bangsamoro peace process, particularly with the recent signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) by President Rodrigo Duterte.

He noted that since the peace process made substantial progress, the cities and provinces in the Zamboanga Peninsula have not recorded any incident of bombings and other serious terror attacks.

“There’s a downtrend crime rate in the region,” Beltran said.

Zamboanga Peninsula Region covers the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay, along with the chartered cities of Zamboanga City and Isabela City in the island province of Basilan.

“Mindanao has so much potential and promise, and this all depends on the success of the peace process,” Beltran said.

Sustaining the gains of peace is one of the primary reasons of the JNC’s visit in the Police Regional Headquarters here, said JNC co-chair Dickson Hermoso, Assistant Secretary for Peace and Security Affairs of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and member of the GPH-MILF Implementing Panel.

“We no longer consider the MILF as our counterparts but as our partners. With the passage of the BOL there’s a strong hope ahead of us,” Hermoso said of the relationship between the government and the MILF.

He said the visit is also part of the JNC’s mission to touch base and coordinate with key military and police headquarters in Mindanao as a move to prepare the parties to embark on the Normalization Track of the Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro (CAB).

One of the annexes in the peace deal, the Normalization Track includes the decommissioning of MILF fighters, turning in of weapons, and the setting up of a composite security team.

All this is to support peace and security work during the transition period before the formal establishment of the government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in 2022 following the recent enactment of the BOL.

“There is a need to closely coordinate with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police units on the ground to effectively implement and carry out the phases and activities under the Normalization program,” Hermoso said.

The Normalization Track will be done in four phases involving four aspects covering eight dimensions, which include the disbandment of private armed groups, provision of socio-economic programs for the combatants and their communities, and transitional justice and reconciliation.

Sammy Al Mansour, chief of staff of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, said normalization and peace are inseparable.

“If there is normalization, there is peace. If there is no normalization, there will be no peace. So this is a challenge to all of us because we have to normalize the situation in order to have peace,” he said.

AFP Peace and Development Office chief Colonel Cesar de Mesa reiterated the need for the government security forces, MILF-BIAF, communities, and other peace partners to work hand-in-hand to ensure the success of the peace process.

“We have to support it and give it a chance. We worked and fought hard for it for decades, and now we have succeeded,” he said.

The team also visited the Western Mindanao Command and has made the rounds in other military and PNP camps in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Central Mindanao. ###

By | August 18th, 2018|MILF, News|0 Comments
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