PASIG CITY (01 January 2022) – As the nation bids goodbye to 2021, the country’s peace agency also says farewell to its old name as it transitions from Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU).
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued Executive Order No. 158 on December 27, 2021 which re-organized and renamed OPAPP into OPAPRU.
In a statement, Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. thanked the President for issuing the EO, as he reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to pursue a just and lasting peace as it transitions to OPAPRU.
“Now as OPAPRU, we shall be maximizing the power of convergence so that we can effectively communicate the message of peace across the widest spectrum of society and rally the support of all sectors behind our collective vision – to heal the wounds caused by armed conflict and foster genuine peace, reconciliation and unity among our countrymen,” Galvez said.
EO 158: A major boost to peace process
According to the EO, in order to build on and sustain the gains of the national government as it pushed forward the comprehensive peace process over the past decade, “there is a need to continually reassess and realign how policies and programs on peace processes are designed, implemented and monitored, and expand the framework on peace to include initiatives that reinforce national reunification and reconciliation, as part of enhancing resilient and social, political and economic reengineering.”
In particular, the OPAPRU’s mandate is focused on embedding peace, reconciliation and unity in the Philippines’ social fabric; enhancing the nation’s resilience for peace; and helping in the country’s social, economic, and political re-engineering by addressing the root causes of armed conflict.
EO 158 further details the government’s policy framework on peace, reconciliation and unity, which employs the principles of a conflict-sensitive and peace-promoting approach; utilizes a whole-of-society strategy; and empowers people so that they can meaningfully participate in the peacebuilding process.
EO 158 also states that the head of OPAPRU, the presidential adviser on peace, reconciliation and unity (PAPRU) shall be appointed by the President.
Under the executive order, government peace negotiating panels and an advisory board will also be established whose members will be directly reporting to the PAPRU.
“We believe this development bodes well not only for our organization, but for the comprehensive Philippine peace process as a whole. It demonstrates the Duterte Administration’s commitment not only to build on and sustain the gains of peace, but also to bring reconciliation and unity among our people,” Galvez said.
The peace adviser noted that over the past four years, there has not been one major incident of armed conflict in the country, which is “a testament that those who used violence to promote their selfish interests have learned that nothing can be achieved through the barrel of a gun.”
“More importantly, they have realized that good things come to those who walk the path of peace,” he added.
Recognition for improved systems, processes
In preparation for its transition to OPAPRU, the agency has been working with reputable institutions to improve its internal structures, policies and processes.
Early this month, the agency received the Silver Trailblazer Award, as it moved on from the Initiation Stage to the Compliance Stage during its Performance Governance System (PGS) Public Revalida.
“Being conferred the Compliance Stage is another major milestone for our agency. We believe that this is the result of the hard work, commitment and dedication of the men and women of OPAPP. We are inspired to take on the challenges that come with the next PGS stage — the Proficiency Stage,” said OPAPP Undersecretary for Operations Isidro Purisima during the agency’s conferment of its Compliance Stage status.
“We recognize the favorable impact of the PGS in the overall performance of the organization, thus, we continuously embed it in our day-to-day operations and embody the good governance principles and approaches we have adopted through the PGS,” Purisima added.
The agency is also undergoing its International Standardization Organization (ISO) 9001:2015 certification.
The Commission on Audit likewise included the agency in the list of the most outstanding accounting offices in 2020 for the “fairness of its presentation of its financial statements.”
“This award is in recognition of OPAPP’s commitment to apply best accounting practices, as it carries out its crucial mandate of pushing forward the comprehensive Philippine peace process,” Galvez said.
With the issuance of the EO 158, EO Nos. 19, 125, and 03, series of 1992, 1993, and 2001, respectively, have all been deemed repealed. ###[EO 158, s. 2021 may be accessed here: https://mirror.officialgazette.gov.ph/…/20211227-EO-158…]