From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 18): OPAPP focused on consultation process amid peace talks standstill
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has decided to conduct a "consultation process" to promote public participation while the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) are on hold.
This was revealed by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza on Sunday before he left for Europe for the Oslo Forum.
Dureza said President Rodrigo R. Duterte is currently studying the consensus points made with the communist rebels, and while the peace talks is on hold, the OPAPP will conduct a "consultation process."
"We would like to meet with the government sector first, the local government unit, church-based groups, the youth, the business sector and others," he said.
"We have to engage the bigger table and not only the small table. The intention of planned public consultation is to show them what had been tentatively agreed upon by our negotiators," he added.
The government peace panel wants a final peace agreement with the communist rebels "as soon as possible," Dureza said, but on one hand, it is cautious of jeopardizing the deal due to lack of public support.
"Kagaya ng Bangsamoro Basic Law, maraming challenges pa tayong haharapin even if a final peace agreement is signed. As we've seen in the BBL, 'yong una hindi ipinasa dahil parang hindi masyadong supportive ang publiko."
(Just like the Bangsamoro Basic Law, there are many challenges we're set to face even if a final peace agreement is signed. As we've seen in the BBL, the previous BBL was not able to make it through due to crumbling public support.)
"We've learned from those lessons, so kung puwede, in the case of the CPP, kung mayroon mang final peace agreement, later on, alam na ng tao, we will elicit strong support, kung ayaw nila, malalaman natin early on kung ayaw din nila," he said.
(We've learned from those lessons, so if possible, in the case of the CPP, if there would be a final peace agreement, later on, the people would have been informed, we will elicit strong support, if they reject, then it's good to know earlier.)
Following the Mamasapano incident in Maguindanao where 44 Special Action Force commandos were killed in 2015, the public's perception regarding the proposed BBL went downhill.
A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey back in 2015 revealed an increase on those against its passage from 27 percent prior to the incident to 48 percent after. The survey revealed that only four percent of the public has extensive knowledge about the BBL.
On the GRP-CPP talks, Dureza reiterated the need for continuous public engagement should the formal talks resume. "Feeling the public pulse must always be a continuing process."