Written by Anna Dinglasan
MANILA, Jan. 3 -- The Philippine Government through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has concluded the last of a series of Learning Experience Study (LES) to review the implementation of the President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's National Peace Plan.
The LES is a policy dialogue series aimed at assessing the accomplishments of the peace process between the government and rebel groups, particularly the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army/National Democratic Front (NDF).
It likewise seeks to measure the national impact of OPAPP on the ground, as well as identify gaps and the challenges of its implementation.
The policy dialogues were attended by various national and regional agencies, local government units, OPAPP implementing units and civil society organizations.
The series of meetings held all over the country provided participants an opportunity to assess existing programs and the impact on the ground. It also allowed participants to discuss issues that may have hindered or facilitated the implementation of the current peace plan.
Lt. Col. Clifford CY Riveral of the Philippine Army said the OPAPP peace building and conflict prevention effort has been felt in local communities.
"This discourse has supplemented us with gaps, breakthroughs, and an enhanced framework of action to best convey our services," he said.
The meeting also provided the participants an opportunity to identify areas for new partnerships.
Flordeliza Trinidad, provincial director of the Department of Interior and Local Government in Zambales, said: "The dialogue, as an assessment platform, will certainly tighten links between OPAPP and its partners in local government, key government agencies and civil society. The policy dialogues were conducted all over the country. A national consultation and validation workshop is slated for December 16 in Manila.
OPAPP Secretary Annabelle T. Abaya said the National Peace Plan is an integral part of the Philippine Midterm Development Plan that lays down its goals, strategies and action plan towards national harmony through a comprehensive peace process.
Under this program, the government aims for the completion of comprehensive peace agreements with rebel groups this year; the completion of implementation of all final peace agreements signed since 1986; the mainstreaming of rebel groups through an enhanced amnesty, reintegration and reconciliation program; rehabilitation, development and healing of conflict- affected areas; and the strengthening the peace constituency and citizen's participation in the peace process.