Manila: Filipinos abroad are being urged to do their part in achieving peace in the Philippines by becoming “agents” of growth.
Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said he is continuously engaging overseas Filipino worker (OFW) communities whenever and wherever he can so that they can bring their message of peace on their own and contribute to make the Philippines a better place without conflict and with an improving economy.
“There are about 10 million OFWs all over the world. There are big agents of growth because they provide great support to our economy,” he said.
He said one means where OFWs can contribute to improving the country is to become “peace ambassadors”.
“We have a concept and a way of how we can involve our OFWs and we call these the ‘Peace Ambassadors’,” Dureza said.
He said the peace ambassadors are installed especially among the OFWS because they are the best people to convey information to other Filipinos.
“They are hoping to bring the message of peace to their own family, neighbourhood, to fellow Pinoys (Filipinos) and especially to the communities where they live,” he added.
He said the concept of “peace ambassadors” had been in development and had also been installed during the previous rounds of peace talks in Rome, Netherlands, and Norway between the Philippine government and the leaders in exile of the Philippine insurgency.
“They (Peace Ambassadors) will become recipients of regular updates on the peace work in the Philippines. After that, we’d like to expect feedback from them,” Dureza said.
“Out Peace Ambassadors are very active. Some of them are giving feedbacks already, so that’s one way of getting cohesive action from the public,” he added.
The Philippines and insurgent group, the Communist Party of the Philippines, New Peoples Army, National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) had been engaged in almost a half a century old insurgency conflict.
Upon the orders of Duterte, government representatives led by Dureza months ago initiated “back-channel” talks revive peace negotiations.
Several weeks after, Duterte ordered a pause in the informal back-channel negotiations saying that he would be consulting first with the Filipino people before talks could continue.
Since the insurgency began in 1969, more than 100,000 combatants had died while certain areas of the country lagged behind in development.