Thursday, June 9, 2016

OPAPP chief vows to continue fight for peace before stepping down

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 9): OPAPP chief vows to continue fight for peace before stepping down

Less than a month before stepping down from office, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita Deles vowed on Thursday to continue forging the path to peace in Bangsamoro.

During the launch of the publication titled "Junctures" in MalacaƱang, Deles highlighted the gains of the Bangsamoro peace process under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III who, she said, was the "star of this book."

"The submission of the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) was already an achievement in itself, especially as it jumpstarted the implementation of various aspects of the CAB (Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro) such as the Ceremonial Turnover and Decommissioning of MILF arms and combatants in June last year," Deles noted.

The peace adviser said while much work remains to be done, she assured to continue fighting for peace.

"The work for peace continues because we know how important it is, especially for the scared child taking cover from a rain of bullets, for parents forced to send away their children to take refuge from firefights, for communities torn apart by war," Deles said.

"We fought the good fight – and we will continue to do so, even as we are set to step down from office in a few weeks. I hope and pray that the next administration will carry the torch forward for the greater good of our people and the world," she added.

Junctures is a publication containing a collection of selected speeches and statements made in the course of the peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The book features the speeches made by the President in key junctures of the process, and those delivered by GPH chief negotiator Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and MILF panel chair Mohagher Iqbal in several forums and discussions on the Bangsamoro peace negotiations held under the Aquino administration.

Produced by the Government Peace Panel Secretariat, the book is published by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

For his part, MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, whose statement was read by Iqbal, believes the book can enlighten readers regarding the context of the whole Bangsamoro process.

"This could be a powerful tool towards educating the readers and observers of the Bangsamoro process. Education is key. If people understand the context of this whole process, appreciate it and work for it, then I would like to believe that we have partially won the battle," said the MILF chair.

"May this compilation serve its noble purposes of providing the readers a peek behind the minds of the main actors in the peace process, impart knowledge and encourage support for the continuity and success of the Bangsamoro peace process," he added.

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