OPPAP’s Deles hopeful of peace prospects in Mindanao

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 1 Sept) – Secretary Teresita Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) sees bright prospects for peace in Mindanao as negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are making headway.

Deles, in a statement issued to media, said that both the government and the MILF continue to create ‘progress’ towards forging an agreement, which will pave way for a just and lasting peace in Mindanao.

“Peace is definitely at work here. But it cannot be left to the government alone. For a peace agreement to be lasting and durable, there has to be ownership. There has to be broad ownership; it cannot be owned only by those who sit on the negotiating table,” said Deles during the start of the month-long observation of the 9th National Peace Consciousness Month.

This year’s peace theme is, “Ako. Ikaw. Tayo. Magkakaiba, Nagkakaisa sa Kapayapaan.”

The theme, explained Deles, serves as a reminder that “in the face of differences, we have to take bold steps forward to defy the odds and rise above the challenges in piecing together the peace process.”

The peace month celebrations will kick off on Sunday with “One Goal for Peace”, a football event with the Azkals at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City in Metro Manila.

Also, a Peace Fair for Kids at the arena will start on Sunday, Deles said.

On September 14, they will launch in Manila the “I am for Peace” campaign.

On September 21, they will celebrate the International Day of Peace during the ka-Peace-tahan, a festive gathering to be held at the SM North Edsa.

The “Teem Up for Peace,” a benefit golf competition, is slated on Sept. 28.

To cap the Peace Month celebration, an “I Want Peace” concert would be held in key cities – in Manila, Baguio, Iloilo and Davao – on Sept. 28.

“Peace is not only an aspiration; largely, it is a consciousness and a resolve. It is never enough that we want it; we have to seek it, understand its process, and take part in realizing it,” she said as she challenged every Filipino “to continue planting the seeds of peace and looking forward to a bountiful harvest.” (Malu Cadeliña Manar / MindaNews)