PASIG CITY, March 20, 2019 – The termination of appointments of the members of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) Negotiating Panel will pave the way for the creation of an inclusive panel that will supervise localized peace engagements, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Wednesday.
Bacolod City, March 16, 2019 – The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) will be providing around Php 500 million worth of livelihood and social protection assistance to former members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army – Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB) and their families as part of its efforts to achieve inclusive and sustainable peace in the region.
According to Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. during his visit to Negros Occidental last March 8, the assistance package will include social protection programs, capacity development, livelihood and employment assistance, housing assistance and financial assistance to former combatants and their families.
“We are committed to help former combatants in their transformation to productive and normal civilian lives. We want them to feel the dividends of peace,” he said. (more…)
PASIG CITY, December 21, 2018 — Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., who officially assumed as the new Presidential Peace Adviser on Thursday, said his experiences in armed conflict have made him more determined to choose peace in trying to solve political disputes in the country. (more…)
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, October 25, 2018 — Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza lauded the Mindanao business community for its role in the island region’s “amazing transformation.” (more…)
MARILOG DISTRICT, DAVAO CITY, October 25, 2018 — Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza highlighted the crucial role of local tribal members in peacebuilding, particularly in resolving situations of conflict in their communities.
“You should use your voices. We in government will provide the platform,” Dureza said during the Multi-Stakeholders Peace Forum and Dialogue organized by the Non-Violent Peace Force and supported by the Embassy of Finland.
He noted that indigenous people (IPs) are among the most affected when armed hostilities between government troops and rebel forces break out.
“You, the Lumad, are the ones caught in the crossfire. It is therefore important that we engage you,” Dureza told almost a hundred representatives of the Matigsalog tribe attending the forum.
According to the peace adviser, around 80 percent of those recruited by insurgent groups are Lumad residing in the countryside.
“They (IPs) are the ones easily recruited,” Dureza said.
He said the reason is that those who take part in armed struggle are driven by a perception that they have been forgotten by government and their needs are being ignored.
“They don’t have schools. They are very poor. They don’t have food on their tables,” he said.
Dureza said this is the reason the Duterte Administration is implementing the “whole-of-government approach,” an integrated and holistic strategy of providing much-needed services to communities situated in remote, underdeveloped communities.
“All the government agencies must be involved in this effort. This is why we are here to listen to your concerns. We will amplify your voices,” he said.
Dureza said due to the cancellation of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the national government is encouraging the conduct of localized peace engagements with the rebels.
He said while the guidelines for these locally-initiated discussions are still being finalized, they are seen as an effective strategy of addressing the country’s decades-long insurgency problem.
“LGUs (local government units) know best who are the ones they should talk to and engage. They (LGUs) are the ones who can find the best solutions,” Dureza said.
Using the “chicken-and-egg analogy,” Dureza emphasized that peace and development should not come one after the other but should happen simultaneously.
“We need to help improve the lives of the people. Peace and development should go hand in hand,” Dureza said.
He said there is now a “greater focus” on the part of the national government to address the roots of the armed conflict in the country.
Although Dureza said the window is still open for the resumption of the peace talks with the communist rebels, the main objective of government is to end the conflict and bring sustainable development to marginalized communities.
“This is easier said than done. Our goal is to put an end to the armed conflict,” he said. ###
PASIG CITY, September 19, 2018 – Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza today emphasized the need for peace and development programs to benefit not just a few people but the entire community.
“It is very important that while implementing these projects, there is transparency and inclusivity, meaning we should not only touch those who know us personally, or those who support us politically,” he said.
Dureza made the statement at the signing today of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and selected Local Government Units (LGU) to formally launch the Community Peace Dividends Fund (CPDF) Program in this city.
The CPDF is a peace and development program of OPAPP that aims to develop, monitor, and implement conflict-sensitive and peace-promoting livelihood projects.
It is supported by the Spanish Government through the Agencia Española Cooperación Internacional para el Desarollo (AECID).
Dureza signed the MOU on behalf of OPAPP, with Tadian, Mountain Province Mayor Anthony Wooden, Leon B. Postigo, Zamboanga del Norte Mayor Hermogenes Cordova, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon Mayor Reynante Inocando, and Esperanza, Agusan del Sur Sangguniang Bayan Member Nathaniel Cabactulan.
H.E. Amaya Fuentes-Milani, Chargé d’Affaires, Ad interim and Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Spain to the Philippines, and AECID Coordinator General Juan Pita witnessed the signing of the MOU.
“Spain and AECID’s support to this initiative of the Government to implement livelihood projects that are conflict-sensitive and peace-promoting in fragile communities that have gone through conflict, or still suffering from issues of unpeace, is greatly appreciated” Secretary Dureza said.
“Hopefully, this (program) will provide a template, a model we can apply to other areas,” he added.
The program follows the following three contexts: (a) areas under peace agreement implementation or post-conflict situation where the whole bureaucracy of government is addressing the peace and development concerns in these areas; (b) conflict-affected areas where parallel development can be initiated while the peace negotiations are ongoing; and (c) in areas where indigenous peoples are predominant.
The selected areas are identified based on a set of criteria approved by the Project Steering Committee and validated by the Conflict and Vulnerability Index formulated by OPAPP.
The provincial government officials, the security sector, and civil society organizations chose the final municipalities and barangays during the provincial orientation and consultations conducted by the agency.
Fuentes-Milani expressed her optimism that the program “will benefit the communities and will bring together women and men, indigenous groups, elders and youth, to discuss about their priorities and facilitate the path towards a peaceful coexistence.“
“The Government of Spain values the partnership with OPAPP and will remain committed to supporting peace and development in the Philippines as our key priorities,” she said. ###
QUEZON CITY, September 12, 2018 — Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza today assured the members of the House of Representatives that the government will remain open to the resumption of talks with the communists.
During a meeting with the House Committee on Peace, Unity and Reconciliation, Dureza said that the government peace panel “will continue to pursue the effort in the resumption of peace negotiation.”
“At this point, we still adhere to the statement that the door is still wide open and we will be considering moving towards that,” he said.
The peace adviser reiterated President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s wishes before talks can resume, namely: 1) there should be no coalition government; 2) there should be no collection of revolutionary tax; 3) the venue of the talks should local; and 4) there should be a ceasefire during which members of the New People’s Army would encamp in designated areas.
Dureza said while the government’s current approach is pursuing localized peace talks, he also recognized that negotiations are vital in addressing the root causes of armed struggle.
“We know very well that we cannot finish the insurgency problem by military or police action at all. We have to address the social issues and it can be done if we engage the other side,” he said.
For his part, Government Peace Panel Chair and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III downplayed the exchange of words between Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison and President Duterte, saying these would not hinder the resumption of talks.
“The exchange of words is actually an exchange of words between good friends,” he said.
The House Committee tackled House Resolution 1803 urging President Rodrigo Duterte to resume the peace negotiations with the communists and House Bill 5669 which seeks to establish a Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Program for the Bangsamoro.
The committee adopted both the resolution and the bill. ###
DAVAO CITY, September 2, 2018 — “The peace table is now wide open for everybody.”
This was declared by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza during the launch of National Peace Consciousness Month at the Rizal Park in this city.
Dureza was referring to the larger peace table, the general public, who he said should be at the forefront of the peace process between the national government and the various rebel groups.
“This table is not only for the Muslims, for the New People’s Army, for the indigenous peoples, but for all Filipinos,” he said.
Dureza noted that peace agreements signed between government and rebel organizations will not succeed if these do not have the support of the general public.
Citing the recently approved Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), he said the landmark measure was passed due to the desire of the Duterte Administration to uplift the lives of the people and make development as inclusive as possible.
“With the BOL’s passage, we will no longer walk but run for peace,” Dureza said.
In the meantime, the peace adviser underscored the need for the government to focus on the plight of underprivileged sectors such as the Lumad.
“We need to make them feel that they have not been forgotten by government and their needs are being attended to,” he said.
He said the the nation’s indigenous peoples are among the most vulnerable when conflict arises in their communities.
“They are the ones who are caught in the crossfire,” he said.
Dureza said this is one of the reasons it is easy for communist rebels to recruit Lumad, who he said make up 80 percent of new members.
He said this is why the government’s programs and projects aim to empower IPs and make them part of the mainstream of development.
He said as the nation celebrates the month of peace, it is important for stakeholders to highlight their efforts to help bring long-lasting peace and sustainable development throughout the country. ###
Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte, August 28, 2018 — Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza today urged local rebels here to stop fighting so that development can continue in the area.
“Ang gusto ng ating Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte, kung pwede ‘di na tayo mag-away. ‘Di na tayo magpatayan. Magkaisa na tayo (What President Rodrigo Roa Duterte wants is for us to stop fighting. Let’s stop killing each other. Let’s be united instead),” Dureza said in his message at the inauguration of the LASICAM Bridge in Barangay Sico-Sico on Tuesday.
“Magbalik na kayo nang bukal sa inyong puso. Malaki ang suporta sa inyo ng Presidente (Come back to the folds of the law wholeheartedly. The President is giving you a lot of support),” he added.
The bridge passes through the three barangays of Lahi, Sico-Sico, and Camam-onan in the Municipality of Gigaquit — known stronghold corridors of local insurgents in Surigao del Norte for decades.
The project will benefit more than 3,000 residents by giving them access to socio-economic services carried out by the national and local government. The bridge will also give local farmers and residents better access to market sites.
Dureza said the bridge is part of government’s emphasis on working on peace and development simultaneously.
“You cannot sustain peace if you do not improve the lives of people. Conversely, you cannot also sustain development without peace. Dapat iyan, hand-in-hand,” he said.
For her part, Surigao del Norte Governor Sol Matugas extended her gratitude to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) for funding the project through the 2015 PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) Program – calling the completed project “Bridge of Hope” (Tulay nan Paglaum).
“Itong tulay ang magsisilbing daan para sa mga bisita. Maraming mga proyekto ang darating upang ang mga nakatira dito ay maging mapayapa at masagana (This bridge will serve as the way for visitors. Many projects will be brought here so that residents can live in peace and prosperity),” Matugas said.
Speaking on behalf of the Mamanwa Tribe within the community, Datu Emilliano Jede recalled how their people endured walking for one whole day just to reach the town proper.
“Dati, pag papunta kaming bayan, magkalakad kami nang isang araw. Ngayon, dahil may kalsada na, sandali lang makakarating na kami sa bayan (We used to spend a whole day walking to the town. With this road, we can reach it in a short time),” Jede said.
All in all, a total of P210 million was allocated for the implementation of the project. OPAPP tapped the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) as implementing partner.
The inauguration, which coincided with the launch of Caraga Peace and Development Zones that includes Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur, attracted nearly 300 attendees, including locals from Barangay Sico-sico and representatives from OPAPP, DILG, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the local government units. ###
PASIG CITY, August 15, 2018 – Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza today discussed ways to promote peace and development in Mindanao at the ‘Kartilya’ forum organized by the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP).
In his speech, Dureza said one of these is the planned development of a “peace course” that will be taught by DAP.
He said he himself is interested in attending the course because of the academic perspective it can offer.
Dureza also underscored the importance of sustaining peace and development side-by-side, saying every Filipino will benefit from the relative peace the government continuously pursues.
“The Duterte peace and development paradigm must go hand-in-hand and not one after the other. While we are trying to work on peace, you also notice that there is also a lot of things to work on in economic development,” he said.
Dureza expressed confidence in DAP’s capacity to assist the government in providing technical assistance relation to Mindanao’s development.
“DAP is one of the institutions that can make things happen – things that are still being discussed theoretically but that DAP is (already) trying to put into action,” he said.
Also speaking during the forum, Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Alonto said the local governments should be the leading agents in Mindanao’s advancement.
“Development must start from the leaders of communities, particularly the local government,” he said.
In his message, DAP President Engelbert Caronan Jr. commended the progress that Mindanao has gone through.
“There is little understanding how a transition can affect the whole country. We (DAP) realize how far Mindanao has come and how far it still needs to go. We can do more,” Caronan said.
The Kartilya forum was aimed at starting discussions on emerging issues and prospects that could be developed in Mindanao, particularly on the next steps forward after the signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law. ###