Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, commander of the Armed Forces of the
Lt. Gen. Deveraturda was the guest speaker during the culmination program of the Peace Initiatives exhibit at a shopping mall in Dumaguete and attended by AFP and Philippine National Police officials, Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and other local officials as well as civic groups and non-government organizations.
In his message, the CentCom chief said he always places emphasis on respect for human rights when talking to the troops in the Visayas and that “the moment we violate it (human rights) we will never survive”.
Human rights is the very ideal which the soldiers have sworn to protect and defend, Lt. Gen. Deveraturda said.
Talking about peace, the AFP general also noted that poverty, hunger, ignorance and disease are issues that lead to violence, but these issues differ from place to place.
He also warned that these “issues can be exploited by anybody and by any political entrepreneur”.
“I am a soldier and I would always argue that nobody knows the meaning of peace more than the men and women who will be called in times of war”.
The CentCom mission is described is two very long sentences but simply put, it means peace in the Visayas, Deveraturda said.
When talking about peace, people must recall history wherein, in the 5,000 years of man’s recorded history, close to 14,600 wars, including major conflicts but not including minor skirmishes among or within nations, have been recorded, he noted.
This means an average of three major conflicts per year, Deveraturda said.
Despite all the wars and conflicts happening everywhere, the AFP official said people are “still capable of making this earth a place wherein we can have genuine peace”.
He said while war will always be present, there are two things that men must remember to attain peace: placing “our faith not on the perfectibility of man but of human institutions, and on gradual evolution of human institutions and not the evolution of human nature”.
Deveraturda also highlighted the value of democracy which he describes as the “moral compass that guides us all”.
To set the conditions for peace, soldiers must know that what is most local is most strategic and therefore they must understand what is going on in a particular locality.
He lauded the organizers of the event and the citizens of Negros Oriental for their efforts in fighting for peace.