Deles says deeper understanding of peace process needed

January 26, 2012 11:23 pm 

By Ben Cal

MANILA, Jan. 26 — The peace process is a complicated matter that needs deeper understanding by all stakeholders so they would not be “easily swayed” amidst sprouting critical issues, according to Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles.

Speaking before the Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference (BBC) for Human Development held at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila Thursday, Deles said:

“The peace process is very complicated; it can’t be grasped in one sitting. What we need is a faithful accompaniment of the process. When the peace process is doing well, people leave it alone. But the peace process is one issue that is so quick to turn.”

Deles emphasized the need to have more advocates who would help in explaining the issues concerning the peace process.

“When issues arise, nobody answers to help clarify the situation. It's only the people in the peace process. This process needs deeper understanding; it needs faithfulness so that when something happens people don't easily get swayed,” Deles said.

“Anything that can be picked up by the news, such as that the peace adviser and the negotiators are amateurs and incompetent – these are easy for them to say because so few people understand,” Deles said.

Joining Deles were Marvic Leonen, Government of the Philippines (GPH) panel chair for talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and Jurgette Honculada, panel member for talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP).

Partners on the ground

When queried on how the religious leaders can support the nation’s quest for peace, Deles raised two salient points: faithful accompaniment of the peace process and partners on the ground.

She also raised the need for peace monitors as development projects are being laid out in conflict areas through the government’s PAMANA or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) program.

“PAMANA puts projects in areas that are not easy to access, where there are no civil society groups,” Deles said. “An element of PAMANA is transparency where we sign up a partner who will monitor, watch the bidding – that and if we say we'll be building a school, it will work out as such.”

PAMANA is the government’s program and framework for peace and development in conflict areas, as well as those covered by existing peace agreements. It seeks to reduce poverty, improve governance and empower people through projects that enhance peace and socio-economic conditions.

Deles said it was hard to find partners in conflict areas who would be vigilant in ensuring that national government funds go to the right place.

“We are reversing a political culture here where there is no distinction between public and private funds and we need people on the ground to help us out,” she emphasized.

Clamor for peace

Honculada, on the other hand, gave a short presentation on the history of the 42-year-old insurgency being waged by the CPP-NPA-NDFP, as well as developments in the peace process with the communist group.

Peace negotiations have been delayed following the CPP-NPA-NDFP’s demand to release their detained consultants.

Due to this setback, more communities, particularly those that are affected by conflict, are actively calling for a truce.

“This clamor for local ceasefire and local peace talks is growing,” Honculada said.

“What’s next (for the peace talks)? There are three possible scenarios: resumption, suspension, termination … If the stakeholders and the public still believe in peace, they must do what they can to keep both parties at the table,” she said. (PNA) RMA/RBC/utb


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