PH Peace Champions honored

TAGUIG CITY — The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) led on Friday a wreath offering ceremony here to pay tribute to the country’s peace champions.

The simultaneous wreath offering ceremony, which is part of the celebration of this year’s National Peace Consciousness month, was held at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and the Manila Memorial Park.

Honored at Libingan ng mga Bayani were the late Presidents Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. and Fidel V. Ramos, and former COMELEC Commissioner Atty. Haydee Yorac.

Feted at the Manila Memorial Park were the late Presidents Corazon C. Aquino, Benigno C. Aquino III and Aquino III, and Ambassador Amb. Manuel T. Yan.

Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. offered the wreath on Yorac’s tomb, saying she “had spent the best years of her professional life as a peace worker, leading the national unification commission under the Ramos administration.”

“Under her guidance, the government’s peace talks with the various Moro Fronts were rekindled. She is an educator, public servant and peace builder,” Galvez said.

Galvez also offered wreaths on the tombs of the late President Marcos Sr and Ramos.

The peace adviser remembered the former presidents as “men with vision and decisive leadership when it comes to the country’s peace process.”

It was under Former Marcos Sr. term that the Tripoli agreement between the government and More National Liberation Front was signed in 1976, paving the way to the forging of succeeding Bangsamoro Peace agreements over the years.

Meanwhile, it was under the leadership of Ramos when the government launched a nationwide consultation process to develop strategies in engaging non-state armed groups which led to the creation of the National Unification Commission (NUC).

The recommendations from the consultations produced the Six Paths to Peace which became the country’s peace policy framework.

OPAPRU Undersecretary David B. Diciano, who offered wreaths on the tombs of the late Presidents Corazon Aquino and Benigno Aquino III and Ambassador Yan, lauded them for their instrumental role in the country’s peace process.

“President Cory was a  staunch peace advocate who played a key role in the forging of the 1986 Mount Data Sipat Peace accord, and her son, the late President Noynoy, was the government’s chief peace architect, as it was during his term that the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) was signed. The CAB paved the way for the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, leading to the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM),” Diciano said.

“Ambassador Yan’s approach to peace negotiations taught us that it is not a bargaining process, but rather a collective journey in finding genuine, sustainable and democratic solutions leading to a just and lasting peace,” he added.

A wreath offering ceremony was also held at the Bangued Public Cemetery last September  28 to honor the late Fr. Conrado Balweg, the former leader of the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA).

OPAPRU Assistant. Secretary Andres Aguinaldo recalled Father Balweg’s major contributions to the peace process between the national government and CPLA.

“We express our deepest appreciation to Father Balweg who through his sacrifices, helped paved the way for the establishment of the Cordillera Administrative Region,” Aguinaldo said.

The families of the honorees also expressed their gratitude to OPAPRU for remembering their loved ones and recognizing their contributions to the peace process.

“It is with great pride and honor to receive on behalf of the family of Atty. Haydee Yorac this citation for her contribution to the peace process. We would like to acknowledge this initiative by Sec. Carlito Galvez and representatives of Kapatiran Chairperson Ka-Inca and [OPAPRU] Executive Director Cesar de Mesa. With the banner of the admin as a unifying government, we look forward to more milestones and breakthroughs to the peace process,” Seth Yorac, nephew of Haydee Yorac, said in his message at the ceremony. (PR)

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