Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles’ message on the observance of 11th Nat’l Peace Consciousness Month PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 12:13

Greetings of peace! Kapayapaan!

This year’s celebration of the 11th National Peace Consciousness Month is imbued with profound gratitude, unparalleled optimism, and extraordinary meaning.

To mark this occasion, we have chosen the theme “Nagkakaisang Bayan para sa Kapayapaan.” We are a country that is diverse in so many wonderful ways—a rich tapestry of cultural and ethnic tribes stretched across seven thousand islands and with presence in various continents. Our aspirations for our nation, communities, and families unite us. We are, given our shared aspirations, one country united for peace, democracy, and a just and better way of life.

Magkakaiba man ang ating pinagmulan, iisa lamang ang ating hangarin: tunay at ganap na kapayapaan para sa lahat.

Turmoil in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and other countries remind us about the fragile state of the world we live in. No cause can be higher than the respect for human lives regardless of ideological, political, ethnic, social, and even economic differences.

The good news is that peace is upon us.

We are at the threshold of bringing to our people’s representatives in the two august chambers of Congress a historic measure that would seal with permanence and acceptance the salient provisions contained in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

That we continue to hurdle each and every obstacle that has come our way in the path towards permanent peace signifies the depth of commitment of both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). We shall continue to seek an inclusive peace, a transparent transition, and an irreversible economic transformation for our brothers and sisters in the Bangsamoro, the rest of Mindanao, and the whole of our country.

Complementing our peace tracks is a convergence of services provided by partner agencies under PAMANA, or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) programs in many conflict-affected areas in the country. PAMANA is the national government’s program that extends development interventions to isolated, hard-to-reach and conflict-affected communities, ensuring that they are not left behind. It aims to empower communities through community-driven projects that address people’s needs and, at the same time, promote peace.

Among those who benefit from PAMANA are our brothers and sisters living in indigenous communities, especially those in conflict-affected and vulnerable communities.

PAMANA also serves communities in the Cordillera Administrative Region, where the Government of the Philippines (GPH) has signed a closure agreement with the Cordillera Bodong Administration-Cordillera People’s Liberation Army, and in Negros and Panay, where the GPH is poised to sign a closure agreement with the Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas–Revolutionary Proletarian Army–Alex Boncayao Brigade Tabara-Paduano Group.

In these areas, as well as in parts of Mindanao covered by the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front, we are seeing how PAMANA is changing people’s lives by laying the foundations for peace.

In parts of Mindanao, several communities are feeling the benefits of Sajahatra Bangsamoro, a joint undertaking of the GPH and the MILF that aims to uplift and develop the health, education, and livelihood conditions of Bangsamoro communities.

National Peace Consciousness Month is also an occasion to thank all those who work tirelessly to build a more peaceful and progressive society, including government and non-governmental peace workers who infuse hope especially during times when there is much to feel wary about. We recognize the efforts of all peace negotiators, past and present, for nurturing our people’s aspiration for social justice and permanent peace. We likewise extol the patience and enduring faith of our partners in the international community.

There will always be challenges along the way. Though talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front are currently stalled, we will never tire of engaging our people in meaningful discussions, seeking their help and sharing their same earnest desire and longing for peace.

Ending conflicts through peaceful dialogues requires the support of all stakeholders. We at OPAPP ask everyone to take an active interest in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, which Congress has vowed to prioritize. Once approved by Congress, the basic law has to be ratified through a plebiscite in the proposed Bangsamoro areas. President Aquino shall then appoint members to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority in lieu of the ARMM regional government until the first regional Bangsamoro elections are held in 2016. This is part of our road map to an era of shared prosperity and shared security in the Bangsamoro and beyond, as we open up Mindanao’s unlimited potentials to all Filipinos in an environment anchored in a just and permanent peace.

Indeed, there is still much work to be done. Experience has taught us that ownership is needed for peace agreements to be durable. Working for peace cannot be left to government alone. Our people’s support and understanding will go a long way in defining and obtaining peace in Mindanao through the Bangsamoro.

As we celebrate National Peace Consciousness Month, we call on every Filipino to help shape history by joining our quest for peace. This is our time, our legacy, and our journey – let us be the generation that inspires the world with the true essence of a just and lasting peace. Mabuhay!