OPAPP Chief, Update Civil Society on Latest in Peace Process

Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City, fronting Aten...Image via Wikipedia
Katipunan Ave. fronting ADMU
A March 7, 2011 press release by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles recently updated representatives of civil society organizations on the latest developments in the peace process in a forum which aimed to provide information on the government’s peace strategies.

Deles briefed the participants on the government’s peace and security plan, as well as updates on the peace tracks being pursued by the current administration.

The event, dubbed as “Forum on Peace and Security – Pursuing EDSA’s Path of Peace,” was held at the Walter Hogan Training Center of the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City.

It was organized by various peace advocate groups.

“Many civil society groups are concerned about the unfinished quest to end the protracted armed conflicts in the country. They want to know what is happening in the peace processes, and how they can support these as citizens,” said Karen Tanada, Executive Director of the Gaston Z. Ortigas (GZO) Peace Institute.

“This concern has urged us to organize this forum, in order to provide information to the concerned CSOs about government’s peace strategies, and give them the opportunity to interact with the relevant lead agencies,” Tanada added.

During the forum, government panel chairs Alexander Padilla and Marvic Leonen updated the audience on the recent talks held with the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Oslo, Norway, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, respectively.

The panel chairs also answered queries from the audience, which was composed mostly of representatives from different non-government organizations, as well as some media groups.

Finally, Deles gave a comprehensive presentation on the national perspective on peace process and national security.

In her presentation, the Secretary explained the government’s specific strategies and plans of action in order for the government to “win the peace, and bring all armed conflict to a permanent and peaceful closure.” She also said how the government plans to negotiate political settlement of armed conflicts, and “effectively address” the causes of armed conflict and other issues that affect the peace process.

Deles said that there are challenges and issues along the way, however, before achieving peace. “The government is aiming to reach agreements by midterm so that the remaining term can be solely devoted for implementation,” she stated, stressing that it is important to leave no unfinished business to be turned over to the next administration.

While we want to speed up the peace process in the country, the Secretary pointed out how necessary it is to avoid short-cuts.

“We should reach a common understanding in less ambiguous terms, ask the hard questions, and insulate substantive agenda,” Deles said. “And in this whole process, we should balance transparency and confidentiality – that is also one of the challenges in this endeavor.”

With Arturo Nuera of People’s Alternative Study Center for Research and Education in Social Development Inc. (PASCRES) as the open forum moderator, and Nikki Delfin of Generation Peace as overall facilitator, the forum was convened by Change Politics Movement, Waging Peace Philippines, Mindanao Peaceweavers, Southeast Asia GPPAC, Generation Peace, PASCRES, INCITEGOV, and GZO Peace Institute with support from International Alert.