PRESIDENTIAL peace adviser Jesus “Jess” Dureza has called on stakeholders to work on relationship building and healing the wounds and divisions brought about by armed conflict in the country.
He issued the call after noting that we can build easily the damaged physical structures, like school buildings, but bringing back social cohesion and mending the torn social fabric take time.
In a speech in Zamboanga City last Monday, Dureza, a former working newsman, emphasized that the healing process is one of the lessons that could help the current conflict in Marawi City.
He was in Zamboanga City, which is in the process of building torn relationships following the 2013 siege, to represent President Duterte for the commemoration of Philippine Independence.
“There is a strong need for social healing…and see to it that we don’t have a continuity of this conflict,” said the soft-spoken but highly-articulate presidential peace adviser from Mindanao.
Dureza also emphasized the need to check hatred and deep-seated biases to advance the cause “because if you have anxieties…and hatred, then you cannot radiate to others what you do not have.”
Today, a key advocate of healing and rebuilding relationships is the Office of the Presidential Adviser Peace Process (OPAPP), which is tasked to address the underlying causes of armed conflicts in the country.
In fact, the OPAPP is working under the administration’s six-point peace and development roadmap, which covers the implementation of all the peace agreements the government had signed with rebel groups.
The roadmap also provides the needed socio-economic interventions to conflict-affected areas in the country.
Like Dureza, we believe that what is important is for all of us to stay on course, knowing full well that the road to peace is not paved.