Monday, 14 May 2012 11:35
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles called on the public to hone nationalism starting with themselves and within their own homes to help create a community of peace.
In a press statement, Deles pointed out that “the work of nation-building, the work of developing a Philippines that the Filipinos reallycare for, that’s the job of everyone.”
“The Philippines even by sheer geography inevitably is going to be a country of different cultures. The one who lives in the central plains of Luzonand the one who lives in a small island in the Visayas is going to have adifferent perspective,” Deles pointed out.
“Unless there is some appreciation that in fact this rainbow of culturesis going to enrich me instead of scare me the way it is done now – “Matakot kasa Bumbay, matakot ka sa Moro” – the racism in this country does not make for peace.”
Deles made this call as she spoke before students of the National Defense College of the Philippines in a lecture entitled “Piecing Together thePeace Process: The Status of the Philippine Government Negotiations with theCPP/NPA/NDF, MNLF and MILF” held in Quezon City. Participants were composed ofsenior military officers, government officials and executives and individualsfrom private sectors.
The peace adviser reiterated the need for the public to have a stake inthe on-going peace processes in the country.
Deles stressed that the public’s participation is vital in the peaceprocess as “peace agreements are going to need the work of many people” and notjust the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) alone.
“For a peace agreement to be lasting and durable there has to beownership. There has to be broad ownership; it cannot be owned only by thosewho sit on the table,” she said.
During the lecture, Deles presented the big picture being covered by thecurrent administration’s peace plan including the on-going peace talks betweenthe government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the recently agreedupon 10 Decision Points on Principles signed by the two parties at the 27thFormal Exploratory Talks held in Malaysia last April.
With the document made public, Deles appealed to Filipinos to take partin this process: “Look at it, study it, and if you have questions – ask.”
She said that as part of the President’s mandate, the current peaceprocess always strives to be inclusive and transparent.
“We have our panels going around doing consultations. We have workingrelationships with both Houses of Congress. We are consulting with formerSupreme Court justices, and we are having frequent consultations with civilsocieties and LGUs (local government units),” she said.
As part of its efforts to extensively reach out to the ground, OPAPPrecently opened a Communications Office stationed in Central Mindanao.
Despite the difficulties ahead, the presidential adviser remainsoptimistic about the direction the talks are going.
“If you look at the starting positions, we arequite distant from each other. But I tell you - if people are practical, ifpeople are thinking of moving ahead and finally coming to an agreement I thinkthere is a possibility of an agreement here.”
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