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PIA Press Release
Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Deles asks peace builders to persevere, maintain partnership

by Rene V. Carbayas

ISABELA CITY, Basilan, Jan 4 (PIA) –- “Let 2012 be the year for peace.” This was statement of Office of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita Quinto-Deles as she addressed OPAPP personnel on their first working day of the year.

The peace adviser emphasized that “the work of peace is not going to be easy.” Challenges await peace builders both on the negotiating table and on the ground. “As the year starts, the opportunities for peace remain positive.”

Deles described the year 2011 as a rollercoaster, saying that “we were up many times and we were also down and under many times.” However, she said that the solution is always not to allow ourselves to stay down.

“In the face of trials, we will persevere because the work that we do is not just for us; it’s for the country. Maybe one of the things to be grateful for, to have experienced all of the trials and all of the challenges last year, is that we know exactly what we’re facing this year,” Deles stated as she asked employees to be ready to face the challenges ahead.

Deles also stressed the importance of partnerships. “One thing we learned last year and practiced is that peace is not just the work of OPAPP. If we thought it was just our work, we know we would not be able to do it alone. We should also be able to rely on our peace partners.”

She expressed the present administration’s continued hope for forging peace agreements early on “so that we will not leave the matter of implementation to the next administration.”

“Let 2012 be the year for peace in our hearts and in the entire country,” Deles added.

It may be recalled that late last year, government panel chair Marvic Leonen challenged the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to forge a peace agreement in the first quarter of 2012. Chief negotiator Alexander Padilla also called on the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines to return to the negotiating table after months of delay.

Before 2011 came to a close, the government officially launched PAMANA or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) program in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and granted the provincial governments of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mt. Province P 207 million as initial funding for livelihood and community projects.

The implementation of PAMANA in CAR is an offshoot of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed by the government and the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army-Cordillera Bodong Administration on July 4, 2011 in Malacañang.

In the Visayas, the government earmarked P 106-million and P 40-million worth of PAMANA funds to the provincial governments of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental in support of the peace process with the Rebolusyonaryong Partidong Manggagawa ng Pilipinas-Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade and other communities affected by situations of armed conflict.

The administration also released P 140 million to the local government unit of Camarines Norte for the construction of five road projects. Camarines Norte is one of the provinces heavily affected by communist insurgency in the Bicol region.

Shortly before 2011 ended, P 62 million was turned over to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) government for the construction of 2,340 shelters for displaced families in Maguindanao.

As part of the administration’s affirmative action agenda for the south, P 718 million has been earmarked under PAMANA to benefit Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) areas that were transformed into Peace and Development Communities during the implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement. (JPA/OPAPP/RVC-PIA9 ZBST)

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