MAKATI CITY, August 29, 2018 – Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza today emphasized the importance of inter-government cooperation in countering violent extremism.

“We know very well the the emergence of violent extremism had already shown how it can destroy lives and people and the first realization of this when the Marawi siege came,” Dureza said in a forum hosted by the European Union (EU) Delegation of the Philippines.

He said it is thus important that the EU continue its commitment to and support for peace work in the Philippines.

”We hope that the work we’re doing now continues to get EU support because, to be honest with you, we need you,” he said.

Dureza said one of the ways the government addresses the problem of violent extremism is by tackling peace and development at the same time.

“There’s a feeling of poverty, of not being able to see that they can improve their lives with their own capabilities and opportunities given to them,” he said.

“We improve the lives of the people because eventually it will address the anxiety and anger of many,” he added.

Austrian Ambassador to the Philippines Bita Rasoulian put forward the importance of cooperation between the Philippines and the EU in addressing violent extremism.

“Today’s conflicts and challenges are largely transnational. The responses can therefore not only be national in nature, strong regional cooperation is the way forward,” she said.

“The PH-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) represents an overarching mechanism for regular dialogue and coordination between the EU and PH to jointly decide mutual solutions to common challenges,” she added.

The Netherlands Ambassador to the Philippines Marion Derckx also said there are many areas of cooperation between the Philippines and EU.

“We as nations will not be able to secure peace, fight extremism, and terrorism effectively without international cooperation without a dialogue,” she said.

The conference, dubbed “Reaping the benefits of the PH-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement,” provided a venue for dialogue between Philippine and EU officials and policy-makers on the ways forward in implementing the PH-EU PCA.

The PCA was signed in 2012 to promote dialogue in 41 areas of cooperation, such as combating terrorism, human trafficking and illicit drugs and countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, small arms and light weapons. ###