The search for durable peace has received a boost with the reported appointment of human rights lawyer Alexander Padilla as the government’s chief peace negotiator with the National Democratic Front (NDF).
Padilla is the Chairman of the Board of the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), a Davao-based regional advocacy and solidarity institution. He is also the current Undersecretary at the Department of Health. IID has been in the forefront of solidarity and peace-building initiatives in Mindanao and the rest of the region.
IID Executive Director Gus Miclat said that the appointment of Padilla will surely raise the social capital of the campaign for peace, citing the positive reaction from various stakeholders – including the NDF – of his selection by President Aquino.
Miclat also cites the experience, credibility and sincerity that Padilla brings to the office of chief peace negotiator with the NDF.
Padilla was a respected human rights lawyer during martial law and has previously served as senior state prosecutor at the Department of Justice and as Customs Commissioner under President Corazon Aquino. Padilla sits in IID’s board together with former government chief peace negotiator also with the NDF, Atty. Silvestre “Bebot” Bello. III. Bello was also a former Secretary of Justice.
According to Miclat, “Alex Padilla and Bebot Bello are instrumental in guiding the peace building and conflict prevention work of IID. With Alex at the helm of the peace negotiations with the NDF, he will surely infuse the talks with his insights into the root causes of the armed conflict and into finding sustainable solutions for a durable peace.” Both Padilla and Bello had been with IID’s Board since after its inception in 1988.
Miclat described Padilla’s appointment as an indication of the significant interest of President Aquino in rallying all stakeholders to the urgent call for peace.