MANILA — The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) shall continue to build on and sustain the momentum of the peace gains achieved in 2023.

This, as Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. thanked and commended OPAPRU personnel for the crucial role they have played in achieving the major milestones in the comprehensive Philippine peace process in the past year.

In his remarks during the OPAPRU’s first New Year’s Call monthly General Assembly on Monday, January 8. Galvez emphasized the need for the agency to reach out to the Filipino people and actively involve them in the peacebuilding process.

“Mahalaga ang ginagawa [natin] para maging matahimik at mapayapa ang bayang Pilipinas”, he said.

Peace milestones

Under the Bangsamoro peace process, the Bangsamoro Parliament has passed five of its priority codes, which aim to uplift the people’s socioeconomic conditions and boost the region’s economy.

Further, the third phase of the decommissioning process of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants was successfully completed in 2023.

In partnership with the provincial local government units, Local Peace Engagement efforts and its Transformation Program were successfully carried out to help former rebels to reintegrate into mainstream society and to rebuild their lives as peaceful and productive civilians.

The government also continued to move forward the peace processes with the Cordillera Bodong Administration-Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CBA-CPLA) and KAPATIRAN, through the implementation of the Normalization Program that will enable the groups’ members and families to improve their socioeconomic well-being.

Meanwhile, through the OPAPRU’s Social Healing and Peacebuilding Program (SHAPE) and the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan Program (PAMANA), the agency is helping to bring social cohesion and build much-needed socioeconomic projects in focus areas throughout the country.

‘Peace: Bawat Buhay Mahalaga’

During the call and assembly, Galvez also launched OPAPRU slogan for the year, “Peace: Bawat Buhay Mahalaga,” upon which all of OPAPRU’s peacebuilding interventions will be anchored on.

He noted that under the peace process, all lives matter, as he underscored that it significantly affects the lives of each and every Filipino “regardless of social standing, gender, ethnicity, religion or personal beliefs.”

“Isapuso natin lahat ng ating ginagawa. Nakikita natin sa mga nangyayaring giyera, maraming namamatay. At nakikita natin na sa panahon ng transpormasyon, maraming buhay ang naililigtas. If we can save lives by preventing conflict, by promoting peace, by preventing wars, we will do that,” Galvez stated.

With this, Galvez called on OPAPRU’s rank and file to work closely with the other government agencies and “remain steadfast at all times to ensure that the hard-won gains of peace are not only maintained, but also nurtured and strengthened in the coming years.”###