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Aquino peace adviser wins 2011 Metrobank Professorial Chair Award

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President Benigno Aquino's peace adviser, Secretary Teresita Deles, received Friday the prestigious 2011 Metrobank Foundation Professorial Chair for Public Service and Governance Award for her notable contributions in the fields of peace and development as a civil society member and a government official.

The Metrobank Foundation, in partnership with the Ateneo School of Government, annually confers the award to distinguished personalities who have shown remarkable record in public service, making them role models for ethical and effective public leadership in the country.

Over a decade ago, the Foundation established Professorial Chairs in the areas of law, medicine, and public service and governance.

A woman pioneer peacemaker in the Philippines, Deles is currently the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, a position she also held from 2003 to 2005 during the first term of the previous administration.

Prior to her stint as peace adviser, she was actively involved in grassroots organizations, focusing on women’s rights, peace and poverty. Her participation in these advocacies began when she served as a student activist organizing a nationalism committee under the school’s student council, and joining rallies during the First Quarter Storm.

In 2009, Department of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima received the prestigious award for her dedication, commitment and untarnished record as an election lawyer, and as chair of the Commission on Human Rights. The following year, Elections Commissioner Rene Sarmiento became the Metrobank Professorial Chair for his exemplary record as a human rights lawyer during the Martial Law era and as a member of the 1987 Constitutional Commission.

*Pioneer peacemaker

Early on in her career, Deles had been exposed to organizational and project development work where she further understood and experienced first-hand the harsh social realities, leading her to work with non-government organizations, some of which she spearheaded.

She is among the founders of PILIPINA, recognized as the first women’s organization in the country to espouse a “homegrown feminist” line. She also helped form the Social Development Index, Coalition for Peace and Asian Women's Research and Action Network. Since the founding of the Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute in 1991 until 2001, she served as its Executive Director. Afterwards, she was appointed as the secretary of the National Anti-Poverty Commission.

Deles was among the 1,000 women nominees for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. She was a recipient of the Aurora Aragon Quezon Peace Award for Peace Advocacy and Conflict Resolution and The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service award.

Today, she continues to be deeply involved in peace work.

By Mindanao Examiner




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