MANILA -- Despite minor setbacks in the peace agreements, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday, September 14, assured the Filipino people that his administration remains committed to its policy of achieving a just, unifying, and lasting peace throughout the country.

The President made this assurance as he graced the 24th Anniversary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in Malacañan Palace.

In his short speech before OPAPP officials and employees, President Duterte stressed that his administration continues to extend the hand of friendship and peace to its various partners in the peace process.

“I have high hopes that we will continue to build our gains to find common support and to work together despite setbacks and disagreements,” he said.

Meanwhile, amid the ongoing rebellion in Mindanao, the Chief Executive called on the public to unite with the government in its fight against extremist groups who continue to sow division, terror, and hatred among the people.

“Let us stand firm and resolute as we work together for a just, unifying, and lasting peace in our country,” he said.

President Duterte also commended the OPAPP for its notable achievements in the last 24 years. He praised the agency for its dedication to make lasting peace possible.

“In just a short span of time, you achieved goals that many doubted you would be able to accomplish,” Duterte said.

“Your efforts turned enemies into friends and partners brought hope to conflict-torn areas, communities, and uplifted the spirits of people who for decades dreamt of peace,” he said.

“Your perseverance have convinced us that regardless of our diversity and differences, all Filipinos will stand together as one towards attaining our aspirations of peace and prosperity,” he added.

He further thanked the country’s different donor agencies, civil society organizations, national government agencies, local government units and the media, for supporting and spearheading initiatives for peace development in the country.

“The milestones that the OPAPP had achieved would not have been possible were it not for your support and your initiatives. Thank you for sharing your time, expertise and resources, and for extending a helping hand to our government and our communities,” he stressed.

During the event, President Duterte witnessed the conferment of awards on 12 OPAPP employees who served the agency for a period of 10 or more years.

Also present during the ceremony were former President Fidel V. Ramos, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. (PND/PNA)