QUEZON CITY (26 September 2023) — The House of Representatives (HOR) on Tuesday, September 26, approved the proposed Php 7 billion “peace investment budget” of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) for fiscal year 2024 during the HOR’s budget deliberation.

The OPAPRU, led by Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr., was not interpellated nor questioned during the deliberation, which lasted for only two minutes.

It was one of the swiftest approvals during the resumption of the plenary deliberations on the proposed 2024 budget of various government agencies.

Rep. Mercedes Alvarez of the 6th District of Negros Occidental, who also sits as the vice-chairperson on committee on appropriations, sponsored OPAPRU’s proposed budget.

Alvarez reaffirmed Congress’ continued and full support to the country’s comprehensive peace process.

According to Galvez, the “peace investment budget,” will be utilized to fund transformation, rehabilitation and socio-economic programs that aim to uplift the lives of former rebels, their families, and their communities across the country.

He noted that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has, time and again, emphasized the need to sustain and build on the gains of the whole-of-government approach at the national and local levels.

“President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. believes that the sustainability and effectiveness of peacebuilding initiatives will be crucial in addressing pressing peace and security concerns affecting the country,” Galvez said.

“As the President has stated, ‘We cannot afford to go back to square one,’” he added.

Galvez extended his gratitude to House speaker Martin Romualdez, House Majority leader Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe and Minority leader Rep. Marcelino Libanan for their steadfast commitment to the peace process.

The peace adviser also thanked Rep. Mujiv S. Hataman of the lone district of Basilan, Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano of the Abang-Lingkod partylist and Rep. Joey Salceda of the 2nd district of Albay for supporting the approval of OPAPRU budget, and for championing peace in Congress and in their respective provinces.

“The non-objection of the HOR to the OPAPRU’s budget speaks volumes. It reflects the genuine and unwavering support of Congress to the peace investment under the Marcos administration. These projects will be life-changing for the former rebels, their families, and conflict-prone communities as we head towards a Bagong Pilipinas,” Galvez said. ### ppin