Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza speaks during the Kartilya session on emerging issues and opportunities in Mindanao last August 15 at the DAP Building in Pasig City. (Photo by Jeannalla Burns)

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza emphasized that work in peace is never ending, calling it ”a work of a lifetime” last August 15 during the Kartilya Forum sponsored by the Development Academy of the Philippines called “Emerging Issues and Opportunities in Mindanao” held at the DAP Headquarters in Pasig City.

“There is no limit to work for peace because there will be triggers of peace at any given time,” Dureza said while stressing that in order to have sustainable development and peace, people must address the root cause of conflict and “unpeace” and “adopt the concept of inclusivity and the concept of peace and development at the same time.”

He also pointed out that the peace and development paradigm of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration must go hand-in-hand and not separately or one after the other.  “You cannot sustain peace if there is no progress in the lives of the people and if there is no development, neither will development be sustainable if there is no peace,” he said.

Dureza stressed that the recently-signed Bangsamoro Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is not only for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front but will also involve the Lumads and the Christians within the area since there is already an inclusivity in the law that was passed.

“If there is going to be relative peace out of this new law, everybody will benefit, not only the neighboring Christians but the whole country as well,” Dureza said as he reiterated that progress or development can only be possible if there is relative peace.

Dureza also said that since President Duterte cancelled talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF leadership because of some issues that have yet to be resolved, they have shifted to localized peace engagements where local government units or the regional peace councils must engage their own armed group in their areas, hoping there is an opportunity for these groups to come around and participate again and return to peaceful alliance.

Meanwhile, having gone into the new route, the OPAPP Secretary emphasized that the door of peace with the communist leadership is still wide open.  “We have not closed it; at the proper time, at the proper opportunity, when the conducive atmosphere comes around, then we will still resume peace negotiations.”

In his message, meanwhile, DAP President Engelbert Caronan Jr. thanked the resource persons for their insights, passion and advocacy of the things that they represent.  “We can already see the areas of intervention that DAP can come in and I have classified them into three areas, namely, economic, political and administrative areas,” the new DAP top man said

Dureza was one of the resource persons during the Kartilya session along with Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Alonto, Prof. Eddie Alih and Undersecretary Ricardo David Jr. of the Department of National Defense. – Jeannalla Burns