GREETINGS of peace to all!
Today marks another major milestone for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (Opapru) as it celebrates its 30th Founding Anniversary. The Opapru has remained true to its mandate of building bridges of peace across the country, a legacy which it hopes to leave behind for generations to come.
Over the past three decades, the agency has led the government’s efforts to bring harmony, mutual understanding, and solidarity among Filipinos. It has navigated the turbulent waters of conflict and division, working tirelessly with peace stakeholders to bridge gaps and heal wounds amidst socio-political, religious and cultural differences.
The peace gains achieved by the nation have been made possible through its dedicated, selfless and hard-working personnel and executives who are at the frontlines not only to spearhead peace dialogues and conversations, but to co-develop and implement innovative programs and initiatives with our peace constituency, that have addressed the root causes of armed conflict
Among Opapru’s key accomplishments has been the promotion and embedding of the culture of peace across all levels of society. By actively engaging its stakeholders, the Office has propagated the values of tolerance, inclusivity, and understanding. It has replaced the sword of conflict with the embrace of peace.
Since its creation 30 years ago, the agency has facilitated the crafting and signing of landmark peace agreements that have finally silenced the guns of war and put an end to decades of armed conflict, bringing genuine peace and sustainable development to communities in the Bangsamoro region in Mindanao, and in conflict-affected and conflict-vulnerable areas in our country.
As a result of the agency’s various peacebuilding interventions, thousands of our fellow Filipinos who were former combatants, rebels and extremists throughout the country have turned away from armed struggle and are now living as peaceful, productive, and law-abiding citizens. They have come to realize that good things come to those who walk the path of peace.
Moreover, the agency, through its peace mechanisms, has facilitated meaningful dialogue between parties. By bringing dissenting factions together to find constructive solutions, the Office has helped pave the groundwork for peace agreements to be forged, and transforming communities that have been torn apart by violence, animosity and mistrust, into show windows of peace and development.
The agency has also helped promote the principles of good governance, accountability, and justice among local government units, national government agencies, other government institutions and the security sector, while helping to address historical grievances among victims of armed conflict by ensuring that the wounds of the past are acknowledged, healed, and prevented from resurfacing.
The achievements of Opapru over the years is a testament to the power of unwavering dedication, visionary leadership, and a steadfast commitment to the pursuit of peace. The difficulties we have faced along the way have been overwhelming, but the resolve of our office to push forward, to engage, and to advocate has been even greater.
Sa ating paggunita ng ika-tatlumpung taong anibesaryo ng Opapru, atin pong bigyang pugay at pasalamatan ang mga kalalakihan at kababaihan ng ahensya na iginugol ang kanilang oras, husay at karunungan upang isulong at pagtibayin ang prosesong kapayapaan sa bansa. Kasama dito ang ating mga kasamahan na nag-retiro at namayapa na.
We also express our heartfelt gratitude to our previous Presidents and Presidential Peace Advisers who led the agency during the most challenging of times. It is through their unwavering efforts that the agency has become the institution that it has become today – more responsive, forward looking and resilient.
As we look towards the future, may this anniversary celebration serve as a reminder to all us to continue to push forward and build upon the foundations of peace. May you all continue to be a beacon of hope, a facilitator of peace, a bridge for reconciliation, and a catalyst for unity.
Let us all invest in peace because peace, after all, is everyone’s responsibility. Ang Kapayapaan ay Responsbilidad ng Bawat Mamamayan.
Maraming salamat at mabuhay po tayong lahat!