Yes for Peace group seeks peace, prosperity for PH

PLARIDEL, Bulacan – Advocates of long lasting peace in the Philippines and “learners” of the 26th session of Integrated Gabay ng Paglilingkod (I-Gabay) phase of the Career Executive Service Board’s (CESBs) Leadership and Management Proficiency program has signed a resolution calling for “bayanihan towards a peaceful, progressive and prosperous Philippines.

The 18 learners include Ernesto A. Alcanzare, Mario S. Baquilod, Angel L. Borja, Lorenzo M. Dizon, Aristarco M. Doroy, Riduan P. Hadjimudin, Clement W. Laboy, Lilibeth G. Lee, Renato C. Limjuco, Rachel R. Llana, Madelyn L. Macalling, Arlan M. Mangelen, Miriam M. Marcelo, Lorenzo E. Mendoza, Marina S. Salamanca, Aleli P. Sudiacal, Manuela S. Tolentino, and Adora May P. Urot.

They said the peace process should not be spoiled by some disgruntled sectors in the on-going peace talks.

Alcanzare, who is the lead organizer of the Yes for Peace Group, said that even Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza is visibly saddened by recent developments.

Reacting to attacks on military and police targets in various areas in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao claimed by the New People’s Army, Dureza said: “We are dismayed that although peace negotiations with the CPP/NPA/NDF are now making some substantial headway, their forces still continue to wage attacks that victimize civilians and inflict damage on the civilian sector.”

Dureza said “There is no doubt at all that our security forces – the AFP and the PNP – with the support of the civilian communities must and can deal with these contingencies.”

The call for Bayanihan or the pro-active involvement and collective participation of the people, including Career Executive Service Officers (CESOs), to mobilize grass-roots participation in the convergent, integrated and holistic delivery of social services to alleviate poverty in conflict areas was made pursuant to the goals and objectives of Yes for Peace – Bayanihan ng Bayan, which Dureza acknowledged as an independent citizen-led peace campaign.

Lawyer Domingo B. Alidon, President of the 30,000 strong Department of Education National Employees Union (DepEd NEU) declared that, “Yes for Peace, the education and advocacy phase of the movement will be spearheaded by the DepEd through public and private elementary and high schools nationwide in compliance to DepEd Memorandum No. 66, series of 2017 recently issued by Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones.”

Johnny Balawag, Chairman of the DepEd NEU confided that, “After the constituents of local government units have responded, Barangay, Municipal, City and Provincial Peace and Order Councils shall be requested to adopt a resolution declaring their respective barangays, municipalities, cities and provinces a Zone of Peace to give a clear message that the armed struggle as a means towards change is unacceptable as far as their constituents are concerned.”

Ernesto Angeles Alcanzare, Lead Organizer of the campaign noted that, “While the negotiators of both the government and the communists insist in holding peace talks halfway across the world, the people they represent want these to be held anywhere here in the Philippines to enable the Filipino people to pro-actively participate in giving flesh to three underlying principles of the comprehensive peace process as well as the Six-Point Peace and Development Agenda of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.”

For his part, Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, government peace panel chair, looks forward to firming up some agreements in the forthcoming 5th round of talks with communist rebels on May 27 to June 1 in the Netherlands.

Notably, the communists have been represented solely by the National Democratic Front since the fourth round of talks early this month after having been represented by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front. —EMIL G. GAMOS