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OPAPP clarifies participation in private group-led survey

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In response to a news report regarding a private group-led survey on peace titled Yes for Peace Movement’s “Bayanihan Para sa Kapayapaan 2011, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) clarified that while the official letter sent by the agency to the Communications Unit of the Department of Education (DepEd) was appreciative of the YEs for Peace initiative, it was not in any way an indication of OPAPP's endorsement nor participation.

Mr. Kenneth Tirado, communication head of the Department of Education (DepEd), in a letter requested for OPAPP's comments on the questionnaires of the Yes for Peace Movement's national survey through Bayanihan Para sa Kapayapaan.

A response was sent by OPAPP and signed by its Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Rosalie Romero.

According to Romero, the letter expressed OPAPP's appreciation of the campaign, which was initiated by Ernesto Alcanzare, lead organizer of the Yes for Peace Movement.

"Any private sector-led initiave that supports peace is always appreciated," Romero said. "And in most cases, they become parallel activities to OPAPP's own initiatives. Even back in 2003, when it was first proposed to us, we already declined to participate as we did this time."
“We maintain our position that given that it is a private group’s initiative, it would be better if the project’s main content, specifically the survey questions, remain pristine from our office’s influence,” she added.

Romero conveyed that this is also to ensure the existence of “neutral pro-peace voices that is able to call on the two sides in the negotiating tables to keep the peace talks alive.”

She also pointed out that keeping the campaign free from influence of OPAPP would “maintain the credibility of the project from being questioned by the rebel groups’ side and prevent a branding of co-option.”

“Given our agency’s current focus on the various peace negotiations undertaken by the Government, a survey that OPAPP would wish to bring out would contain questionnaires that would be more oriented towards the peace negotiations. And if we were to agree to comment, we will thus end up changing all the questions,” she explained.

Romero, nevertheless, thanked DepEd for its continuing support to the peace process and the private citizens’ related initiatives. Likewise, she said that their office looks forward to other peace projects that both agencies may jointly undertake.

By PNA




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