OPAPRU marks Peace Month with peace conversation with FVEs in Piagapo town

By Claire Gigje

 The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) leads a peace conversation involving 30 former violent extremists in Piagapo, Lanao del Sur as part of their peace, healing and reconciliation agenda. (Jason Casas/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

PIAGAPO, Lanao del Sur (PIA)–In line with the celebration of this year’s National Peace Consciousness Month, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) led a peace conversation with 30 former violent extremists (FVEs) here.

According to OPAPRU Social Healing and Peacebuilding Office (SHAPEO) Director Vanessa Pallarco, the activity aimed to promote the culture of peace, healing and reconciliation among victims of armed conflict.

She explained that the peace conversation, which was conducted in collaboration with partner line agencies and the security sector, sought to touch base with the participants and ask for their support in advancing peace in their communities.

Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) Social Healing and Peacebuilding Office (SHAPEO) Director Vanessa Pallarco says their peace conversation intends to assess what processes of the government must be changed and who else to involve to become their partners for peace. (Jason Casas/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

“Ang gusto namin ay makapanayam at makausap kayo dito sa peace conversation para mas mainitindihan namin kung ano ang kailangan mas ayusin pang proseso bilang bahagi ng government, at kung paano pa natin maisama ang iba nating partners para sa kapayapaan,” said Pallarco.

[We want to interview and talk with you through the peace conversation so that we will understand more what process we should improve on the part of the government and who else we need to involve as partners for peace.]

Through the peace dialogue, the SHAPEO director said the OPAPRU wants to find out how these former violent extremists are doing after laying down their arms and turning away from a life of violence.

Following the peace conversation, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) gives a 25-kilo sack of rice to each participating former violent extremist. (Jason Casas/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

She shared that the agency has been holding this conversation with FVEs since 2019 but had to be put on hold when the COVID-19 pandemic crisis struck. With the onset of the new normal, the dialogue resumed.

“Ang intent nito is to be able to build ang tinatawag nating community organizing component and if they can come up with people’s organization na sila mismo magkakaroon ng unified vision for change and development,” Pallarco said.

[The intent of this is to be able to build what we call the community organizing component where they themselves can have a unified vision for change and development.]

After their peace conversation, 25-kilo sacks of rice were distributed to the participating FVEs who are being continuously assisted by the agency in making the transition as peaceful and productive citizens. (CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

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