With the World Peace Bell symbolically in the background, representatives of the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on September 30, 2016 to pursue just and lasting peace in the country leading to national development.
The cooperation was formalized by UP President Alfredo E. Pascual and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus G. Dureza in a ceremony marking the close of National Peace Consciousness Month.
Under the MOU, UP will provide its academic expertise and research capabilities in support of OPAPP’s mandate to oversee, coordinate and integrate the implementation of the government’s peace efforts. Among the collaborative activities specified in the MOU are jointly undertaken research projects related to the peace process, formulation of workshops and conferences contributing to the peace effort, as well as lectures and forums for the education of the general public.
In his message to all participants, Dureza stressed the importance of engaging the public and getting every Filipino to have a sense of ownership of the outcome of the peace process. “You have noticed that for a very short period of time we have engaged many sectors,” he said. “The youth, the Bangsamoro, the academe and all other stakeholders.”
“But let me tell you, this is just the beginning. There will be more engagements in getting to what we call as ‘the bigger table,” Dureza said, referring to the general public. He also expressed his excitement over the UP-OPAPP partnership, in particular UP’s role in providing its expertise to both sides of the negotiating table, by providing consensus points in the OPAPP’s talks with the likes of the MILF and the CPP-NPA-NDF.
Among the witnesses to the signing were: Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista; Government panel member Hernani Braganza; Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Commissioner Prospero De Vera III; UP Vice President for Public Affairs Edna Estifania Co; and Angeles City Mayor Ed Pamintuan.
De Vera, UP Vice President for Public Affairs prior to his appointment to CHED, was also recently named an adviser to the government panel negotiating peace with the National Democratic Front (NDF), upon the recommendation of Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello, who concurrently heads the panel.
For more photos of the event, please click through the album below.