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OPAPP chief cites PHL diplomats’ role in peace process


Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP), cited Tuesday the role of the Philippine Embassies and its diplomats in the government’s peace process.

“Violence and conflicts cross national boundaries, and the Philippine case has especially generated great interest from international players, some of whom have become a part of our country’s architecture for peace,” Deles said.

She said the Philippine embassies, especially in European Community countries, have a role to play than just provide logistical support to delegations from the country.

“Ambassadors from your countries of assignments go to me to get updates. I thought it is high time that we, too, should get a discourse going on matters of peace and foreign policy,” she added.

Philippine Ambassadors and Charge de affairs of 11 countries in Europe met with Deles late Monday (Tuesday in Manila) in Brussels, Belgium to discuss the latest developments in the peace process.

“Judging from the number of questions and the interest generated by the dialogue, you can tell there is a high level of appreciation from everyone for this substantive and insightful exchange,” Ambassador Enrique Manalo, Philippine Ambassador to Brussels commented.

Deles related the importance of having a two-way dialogue especially with the Philippine Ambassadors as the peace process and foreign relations and policy are very much linked.

The dialogue, which took nearly seven hours, involved exchanges related to the recently-resumed formal peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF), respectively;

And the continuing discussions with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA), and the two factions of the Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) on the completion of the peace tracks as the government’s framework for sustaining all on-going governance and development initiatives on the ground.

The Philippine diplomats and Deles have resolved to engage in an inventory of international players, their roles, and the extent of involvement.

There was interest in specially helping generate more resources for Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA).

“The prospect for peace has never been this good. It is better than it has ever been,” Deles said, in response to queries about her overall assessment of the situation.

She explained that, “because of the political climate and the leadership now, there is hope.”

The ambassadors collectively expressed their eagerness to play a more proactive role in the process. They looked forward to more frequent exchanges through email communications with Secretary Deles, who had also emphasized the crucial role of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) central office in transmitting updates and information to the Philippine Missions abroad.

Present in the dialogue were Excellencies Teresita Barsana, Ambassador to Portugal; Maria Zenaida Angara-Collinson, Ambassador to Sweden; Ma. Theresa Lazaro, Ambassador to Switzerland; Romeo Manalo, Ambassador to Italy;

Monina Estrella Callangan-Rueca, Ambassador to Hungary; Rora Navarro-Tolentino, Ambassador to France; Carlos Salinas, Ambassador to Spain; H.E. Ma. Angelina Sta. Catalina, Ambassador to Finland; Lourdes Yparaguirre, Ambassador to Austria; and Charge de Affairs of Bucharest, Warsaw, The Hague, Dublin, Berlin and Prague. (PNA)

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