PASIG CITY – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has named Presidential Assistant Isidro L. Purisima as the acting Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity.
Purisima held the position of Presidential Assistant for Local Conflict Transformation and Peace Sustainability under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU).
His appointment as acting presidential peace adviser was signed by President Marcos on Monday, February 20. He will replace Sec. Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. who was appointed as Defense Chief by the President in January of this year.
“I extend my deepest gratitude to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sec. Galvez for the trust and confidence they have given me. Rest assured that I will carry out my duties as peace adviser in acting capacity to the best of my abilities,” Purisima said.
According to him, he will ensure continuity in the implementation of OPAPRU’s peacebuilding interventions, particularly those that aim to sustain and build on the gains of the Bangsamoro peace process.
“Among the President’s marching orders is for our agency to make sure that all of the commitments made by the Government of the Philippines under all signed peace agreements are fulfilled,” he said.
Since he joined the OPAPRU (formerly Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process or OPAPP) in 2019 as then Undersecretary and Deputy Presidential Peace Adviser, Purisima assisted Galvez in steering the organization’s transformation.
Under the guidance of Galvez, Purisima helped lead the OPAPRU, as it embarked on its Performance Governance System (PGS) journey three years ago.
The PGS aims to help organizations achieve breakthrough results through designing, executing and sustaining a well-formulated strategy by embedding essential elements across a governance pathway composed of four stages.
In 2020, the OPAPRU made it to the Initiation Stage and received the Gold Trailblazer Award. The following year, the peace agency reached the Compliance Stage and garnered the Silver Trailblazer Award.
Outstanding track record
Purisima, a retired major general, is a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy’s class of 1985.
He held several key positions in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, including Commander of the 402nd Brigade, 4ID, Philippine Army, and the AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, J3, until his retirement on May 2019.
Purisima assisted Galvez during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. He facilitated the daily meetings at the National Incident Command of the National Task Force Against COVID-19.
Galvez said he is confident that Purisima will be able to effectively carry out the duties and responsibilities of acting presidential peace adviser.
“With his outstanding track record in the AFP and as a civil servant, I have no doubt that Presidential Adviser Isidro Purisima will be more than capable of handling the post that has been given to him by the President,” he said.
“It is worth noting that PA Purisima is not only a peacekeeper but also a peacebuilder by heart. Having been with OPAPRU for the past three years, he has developed a very clear and deep understanding of the comprehensive Philippine peace process,” Galvez said.
The Defense Chief also gave the assurance that there will be a seamless transition and continuity in the policies, programs, and other initiatives of OPAPRU under the leadership of Purisima.
“The post of presidential peace adviser is a position of trust. The President and I believe that PA Purisima has the knowledge, expertise, and experience to push forward and sustain the gains of the Philippine peace process. He has our full trust and confidence,” Galvez said.
Newly-appointed presidential assistant
Meanwhile, President Marcos also appointed the current OPAPRU Chief of Staff and Spokesperson Atty. Wilben M. Mayor as Presidential Assistant I.
Mayor held several key positions in the Philippine National Police (PNP) as a retired general and PNP spokesperson. Prior to his appointment as Presidential Assistant, Mayor held the position of OPAPRU Executive Director IV and Assistant Secretary.
He is also a member of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) Implementing Panel, and is currently holding strategic positions in the Bangsamoro peace process such co-head of the Secretariat of the National Government-Bangsamoro Government Inter-Governmental Relations Body (IGRB) and co-chair of the Joint Communication Committee.
Being a lawyer himself, Mayor is also the focal of the GPH Technical Working Group on Transitional Justice and Reconciliation; former member of the TWG on the Entry of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members into the PNP; and head secretariat of the National Amnesty Commission (NAC), and representative of the OPAPRU as Ex-officio member to the NAC.
“I thank President Marcos for appointing me as Presidential Assistant I. It is truly an honor and a distinct privilege to serve at the pleasure of the President, and to be able to continue serving our fellow Filipinos,” Mayor said. ###