Peace process office changes name but retains healing mission

By Lade Jean Kabagani

January 1, 2022, 6:02 pm

<p>Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr.<em> (File photo)</em></p>

Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – Filipinos can be assured that the pursuit of just and lasting peace will not stop with the renaming of the government’s peace body.

This, after President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed an executive order (EO) reorganizing and renaming the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU).

“Now as OPAPRU, we shall be maximizing the power of convergence so that we can effectively communicate the message of peace across the widest spectrum of society and rally the support of all sectors behind our collective vision – to heal the wounds caused by armed conflict and foster genuine peace, reconciliation, and unity among our countrymen,” OPAPRU Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said in a statement on Saturday.

Galvez said the newly reorganized OPAPRU is more eager "to sustain the gains of the national government to pushing forward the comprehensive peace process" over the years.

EO No. 158, signed on December 27, guides the policy framework on peace, reconciliation, and unity with three principles, namely conflict-sensitive and peace-promoting, whole-of-society, and empowering.

“We believe this development bodes well not only for our organization but for the comprehensive Philippine peace process as a whole," said Galvez.

He added the newly reorganized OPAPRU "demonstrates the Duterte administration’s commitment not only to build on and sustain the gains of peace but also to bring reconciliation and unity among our people.”

Over the past four years, Galvez said the armed conflicts in the country were lessened "with no major incident".

"[It is] a testament that those who used violence to promote their selfish interests have learned that nothing can be achieved through the barrel of a gun," he added. “More importantly, they have realized that good things come to those who walk the path of peace.”

The peace adviser also noted that the then-OPAPP has been working with reputable institutions to improve its internal structures, policies, and processes as it gradually prepares its transition into OPAPRU.

Part of its recent accomplishments was the Silver Trailblazer Award for Initiation Stage to the Compliance Stage during its Performance Governance System (PGS) Public Revalida, which has been influential on the progress of its daily operations.

It was also included in the Commission on Audit's list of the most outstanding accounting offices, earning the highest rating "unmodified opinion" for its "fairness" in the presentation of financial statements for the year 2020.

“This award is in recognition of OPAPP’s commitment to applying best accounting practices, as it carries out its crucial mandate of pushing forward the comprehensive Philippine peace process,” Galvez said.

Under EO 158, the administrative structure to operationalize the policy framework on peace, reconciliation, and unity shall be led by the President, who shall provide overall policy direction in the conduct of the comprehensive peace process. (PNA)