• Dureza vows ‘minor’ changes in peace agreements

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    PRESIDENTIAL Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said there will be minor changes in the peace deals forged by the previous administration with various armed groups, especially the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), but vowed that his team will continue most of what had been started.

    “We like to invite you to continue being with us. There are a few changes but, definitely, we will continue what the previous Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process has done because Secretary [Teresita] “Ging” Deles also built on the work of previous peace advisers,” Dureza added during formal turnover ceremonies in Pasig City (Metro Manila).

    One of the expected changes, he said, is to make the peace deals “more inclusive” upon orders of President Rodrigo Duterte who, during his inauguration, underscored continued implementation of all signed peace agreements in conformity with constitutional and legal reforms.

    Dureza pointed out that there must be an inclusive roadmap, which takes into account all stakeholders, particularly the indigenous peoples.

    “These are our marching orders and we will work in that direction,” he said as he highlighted the importance of development efforts relative to peace-building, as these will sustain peace on the ground.

    “Hindi lang pwedeng piece of paper o peace agreements, it will not be sustainable. Dapat may katuwang na development [It is not enough that we have signed peace agreements, it will not be sustainable. We must couple it with development],” he explained.

    “In other words, when you sign agreements, you must always make the people feel that there are dividends for peace because it is development that will sustain all these gains,” Dureza said.

    “We build on every brick on the ground. There is so much that has been done already. The message is continuity, and this is for the Filipino people. Enabling peace is a work for a lifetime. It is a continuous work.”

    Deles and other former officials of the agency were present during the event.

    The former peace adviser turned over to Dureza and his team a terminal report detailing what the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process has accomplished in the last six years in negotiations with five groups–the Moro Islamic Liberation Front; Moro National Liberation Front; Communist Party of the Philippines/News People’s Army/National Democratic Front; Cordillera Bodong Administration-Cordillera People’s Liberation Army; and Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade–as well as the programs/projects handled by the agency, namely, Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan, National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and Conflict-Sensitive and Peace Promoting Paradigm.

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