DAVAO CITY — Dabawenyos from all walks of life flocked to the iconic Rizal Park here to welcome the arrival of the Peace Buzz in this southern Mindanao city, the hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Spearheaded by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the Peace Buzz is a peace caravan that aims to promote the culture of peace, understanding and unity across the country.

In his remarks during a press conference, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza explained that various community-initiated activities will be conducted in areas where the Peace Buzz is scheduled to make a stop.

“This shows that the locality itself, the public and private sector, are as interested as the [national] government in the work for peace,’ Sec. Dureza said.

“This work for peace should not be exclusively a responsibility of government but more so, the responsibility of the private sector,” he added.

In order for genuine economic development to take root, Sec. Dureza emphasized the need to make people feel that the government is taking care of them.

“A lot of the alienation of the sectors [occur] where we have a lot of conflict, where many of them feel that they have been abandoned by government and they have not benefitted from it,” he pointed out.

To address this concern, the presidential peace adviser underscored the need to “reach out to those people who feel that that they have been excluded” from the mainstream of development.

“They must be there for inclusivity in our work for peace,” he said.

Sec. Dureza also called on members of the private sector, particularly civil society groups such as the Rotary and Lions Club not to limit their assistance to their respective communities but also to “go out to the hinterlands where the people badly need our attention.”

“There are many ways of doing peace such as improving the lives of people on the ground [and] providing them with the support that they need so badly and have been deprived from them,” he said.

The Peace Buzz kicked off its journey in Baguio City on Sept 21 and has made stops in the cities Quezon, Legazpi, Catbalogan, Surigao, and Butuan.

Its nine-day trip will culminate in Iligan City on Oct 1.

Over the years, OPAPP has been leading the nationwide celebration of the Month of Peace and has been working closely with members of civil society to bring the message of peace among the various sectors of the community, especially in conflict affected areas in Mindanao.

The theme of this year’s Peace Month celebration is “Puso Para sa Kapayapaan, Magkaisa Para sa Bayan.” ###