PRESIDENTIAL Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus G. Dureza emphasized that while the government negotiates peace with the different revolutionary groups, sitting at “the bigger peace table” with the Filipino is equally important.
“We always say that we negotiate across the table with the rebel groups to find peace, but let us not forget that there is a bigger peace table out there. We want that bigger table to be part of the process so that everybody will have ownership of the outcomes,” Dureza said during yesterday’s Closing Ceremony of this year’s National Peace Consciousness Month at the Quezon Memorial Circle.
He added that the government’s peace work right now must engage the people with more transparency and inclusivity so that “every Filipino supports the agreements that we will sign on their behalf.”
Dureza led the launch of two major initiatives that aim to promote a more inclusive and transparent peace process.
First is the partnership with the country’s premier university, the University of the Philippines (UP), and second is the new mobile application geared towards the millennial generation.
Dureza signed a partnership with UP President Alfredo Pascual that commits UP to give technical support to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) for the ongoing peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF), which will resume next week in Oslo, Norway.
The next round of talks will tackle the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), which is most commonly referred to as the “heart and soul of the peace process.”
“UP will provide expertise to the table to bring consensus points in very contentious issues that we are going to tackle,” Dureza explained.
To reach the young people – the millennials – OPAPP launched the mobile application (app) called “PeaceBOC” or Peace Buddies Organizing for Change, the first of its kind app created by a national government office.
The app, which sounds like the popular social networking site Facebook, gives updates on the government’s peace initiatives and includes youth-oriented features that seek to raise their awareness and engage them to actively support the government’s peace programs.
“The new generation has provided a new approach in communicating peace and this is very exciting because we get our inspiration from the young and the support they give us will help us get through this difficult work we are undertaking together,” Dureza said.
The presidential peace adviser also led the ringing of the World Peace Bell together with Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, National Youth Commission (NYC) chair Aiza Seguerra, Cabinet members, officials from the armed forces and the police, national government agencies, international partners, and civil society organizations.
“It is not a signal of the closing of the month of peace, on the contrary, it signals our continuing efforts for peace because peace work never ends – it is a work of a lifetime,” Dureza stressed.