The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “The only constant in life is change.” We could not agree more. Change is unavoidable. Nothing can be done to stop it. We only have two choices: accept change or get swept away in its powerful current.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has learned to embrace change. For it is only by doing so that we shall be able adapt and respond to the fast-changing developments in the peace and security front.

It is this mindset that led OPAPP to begin its Performance Governance (PGS) journey two years ago. And by developing our agency’s strategy map, we began our transformation as an organization based on our strategic position.

This strategic position is reflected in OPAPP’s core and support processes, which cut across all its peace tables. All of the initiatives we are carrying out are underpinned by the agency’s core values of integrity, dialogue and commitment to peace.

We believe that the transformation process OPAPP is currently going through is one of the best things that has happened to our agency. It has enabled us to improve our internal systems and processes, while allowing us to better respond to the needs of our peace stakeholders.

More than ever, we are demonstrating our agency’s commitment to actively work with our partners and realize our collective vision of helping transform former combatants and their families into peaceful and productive citizens.

At the same time, we are also transforming once conflict-affected and conflict-vulnerable areas into peaceful, productive and resilient communities through our various programs, projects and activities.

Our peace journey, however, has not been easy. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, our organization’s timetable was pushed back, and many of our peacebuilding interventions had to be scaled down.

OPAPP personnel also became an integral part of the national government’s pandemic response efforts.

Despite the challenges, our agency was undaunted, as we marshalled on. Our organization was driven by the Duterte Administration’s commitment to honor all signed peace agreements in order to sustain and build on the gains of peace throughout the country.

The pandemic did not stop us. Our initiatives under all peace tables and programs are gaining momentum, with the invaluable assistance coming from our local and international peace stakeholders.

You are the unsung heroes of the peace process — civil society organizations, academic institutions, foreign donor agencies, national line agencies and local government units. With your invaluable dedication, you are helping to make the impossible possible.

And to the men and women of OPAPP, it is through your hard work, commitment and determination that we have been able to move forward the comprehensive Philippine peace process and achieve major milestones. Thank you to all of you for rising up to the challenge.

To the Filipino people, thank you for joining us in this journey. As we celebrate our agency’s 28th anniversary, we are committed more than ever to realizing our collective vision of bringing a just and lasting peace to all Filipinos. ###

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