My warmest greetings to all our fellow peace advocates as we celebrate the holiday season.
All of us were caught off guard by the global pandemic — a challenge that added to the fragile state of our conflict-affected and conflict-vulnerable communities throughout the country. But true to the Filipinos’ steadfast and resilient spirit, we were able to quickly adapt and find creative ways to continue our work for peace.
On the part of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, we had to recalibrate and adjust our programs, projects and activities in order to conform with our new normal. For instance, we started conducting our meetings and consultations through video conferencing, while limiting our physical interactions with our partners.
But despite the many adjustments we had to make, we are pleased to note that we were still able to carry out our various interventions across all peace tables. The timetable for these initiatives might have been slightly pushed back, but we are pleased to report that all our efforts remain on track.
Despite the technical and logistical limitations we had to confront, we were able to accomplish all of these through the steadfast commitment, determination and support of all our local and international partners. They were with us each step of the way and never left our side.
If there is one major lesson we have learned from this health crisis is the power of synergy, collaboration and convergence. Although most of our interactions were done online, we could feel the sense of purpose, excitement and desire to get things done by our stakeholders.
On behalf of the men and women of OPAPP, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to all our peace partners who, in one way or another, helped the government push forward the comprehensive Philippine peace process and come closer to our goal of achieving a just and lasting peace for all Filipinos.
We hope that you will continue to support the noble work that we do — from the mountain villages of the Cordilleras, to the coastal areas of the Visayas region, to the flatlands of the Bangsamoro. This health crisis may have changed us, but it has certainly made us more caring, hopeful and resilient as a people.
May the spirit of Christmas dwell within our hearts and minds as we forge ahead in our peacebuilding work. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!