PASAY CITY, Philippines – As part of its continuing peace constituency-building efforts, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) held an International Peace Partners’ Forum on Friday, June 17.
During the forum, OPAPRU officials highlighted the milestones achieved under the comprehensive Philippine peace process under the Duterte administration, while recognizing the invaluable contribution of its international peace partners in achieving these milestones.
The forum’s attendees included representatives from foreign embassies, the United Nations and its attached agencies, and international non-governmental organizations whose organizations have supported the national government’s peacebuilding initiatives.
In his opening message, Deputy Presidential Adviser on Peace Undersecretary Isidro Purisima thanked the international development sector for helping the agency sustain the gains of the comprehensive Philippine peace process.
“We recognize the need for us to step up our engagement with our peace partners, which includes you, the international development community. If we are to carry out our mandate effectively and efficiently, we have to do it in close collaboration with all of you,” Purisima said.
“Over the years, our international partners have been our staunch allies who have helped in ensuring that the gains of the peace process are sustained. From the signing of the peace agreement of different peace tables to the implementation of these agreements, you have been with us every step of the way,” he added.
Pursima likewise emphasized the need to continue strengthening partnerships among peace stakeholders, as this will be the key in sustaining peacebuilding and development efforts in conflict-affected and conflict-vulnerable areas throughout the country.
Helping former combatants
According to Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez, it was because of this complementation of efforts with international partners that the agency has been able “to leverage on each other’s resources, identify gaps in program implementation and address them, and further improve the delivery of services to beneficiaries.”
“In the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) region alone, your assistance has enabled us to successfully decommission thousands of Moro Islamic Liberation Front combatants who are now making the successful transition to peaceful and productive civilian life,” Galvez said.
“Through the various socio-economic and development initiatives you are implementing with our peace mechanisms and local partners, you are now helping to uplift the lives of these former combatants and their families by providing them the means to earn sustainable incomes,” he added.
Galvez also cited the assistance being provided by the international development community to the members of the BARMM government.
“You have also been helping the BARMM government by providing its leaders with capacity-building trainings which are enabling them to become better public servants, and more responsive to the needs of their constituents,” he said.
Galvez likewise thanked OPAPRU’s international partners for supporting the agency as it transitioned from the Office of the Presidential Adviser of the Peace Process (OPAPP) to OPAPRU.
“As our agency transitioned from OPAPP to the office of the Presidential Adviser on peace, Reconciliation, and Unity or OPAPRU, you stood by our side and fully supported our efforts. We are pleased that you, our international partners, have not only witnessed, but also become a part of this transformation process,” he said.
The peace adviser also cited the Global Peace Index 2022 report which showed that the Philippines has been included in the Top 5 countries worldwide with the largest improvement in their peace and security situation.
He attributed this achievement to the full support given by the international development sector to the Philippine government’s peace and development agenda.
“It has been said that a rising tide lifts all boats. We believe that you, our international peace partners, are the tide that is lifting the Philippine peace process, and will be instrumental in carrying it to even greater heights,” Galvez said.
Sustaining the peace gains
Galvez also urged the international partners to continue their support to the incoming administration to flourish the peace process in the country.
“As the Duterte administration nears the need of its time, we would like to enjoin all of you to provide the same level of support to the incoming administration so that we can continue to build the foundations of a just and lasting peace in the country,” Galvez urged.