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OPAPRU chief: Open dialogue key to peaceful BSKE in BARMM

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 19:00 PM Thu Mar 30, 2023
Wilnard Bacelonia
PEACEFUL BARMM BSKE POLLS. Peace Adviser Isidro Purisima said on Thursday that he hopes there would be no armed violence in the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region ( PNA photo by Joseph O. Razon)

MANILA – An open dialogue among various stakeholders will help the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) conduct a peaceful and orderly Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) on Oct. 30, Acting Presidential Peace Adviser Isidro Purisima said Thursday.

During the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process' (OPAPRU) launch of the Gawad Kapayapaan held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, Purisima urged the local government units (LGUs) in the BARMM to organize dialogues, especially among candidates, to avoid armed violence in the region.

He noted that although OPAPRU has been reaching out and having dialogues with different sectors in the BARMM, the LGUs also play a huge role in ensuring the upcoming BSKE is violence-free.

"Continuous yung mga dialogue natin. Yung mga different stakeholders kailangan makausap natin yan na sana ma-avoid natin yung mga (conflict). So, yung mga local governments, malaki yung role niya and kausap din natin yung mga peace-inclined groups natin – MILF [Moro Islamic Liberation Front], MNLF [Moro National Liberation Front], na sana walang gulo (We do continuous dialogue. We need to talk with different stakeholders and ask them to avoid conflict. So, the local governments have a big role and we also talked to our peace-inclined groups – MILF, MNLF – to maintain peace)," Purisima said in an interview.

"Andyan rin naman ang security sector natin (The security sector is also there) to address that, so it's a whole-of-nation approach natin dito. Ang importante walang (What is important is that there will be no) armed conflict, armed violence."

On the day of the 2022 National and Local Elections, the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported 16 separate poll-related incidents, which were recorded mostly in the provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.

Early this month, the PNP deployed 224 rookie police officers in various police units across BARMM.

BARMM regional police director, Brig. Gen. John Guyguyon, said apart from anti-insurgency, public safety, and special law enforcement operations, the deployment also forms part of the security preparation for the upcoming BSKE.

Gawad Kapayapaan awards 

Meanwhile, OPAPRU announced that it is now accepting nominees for the Gawad Kapayapaan (GaKap) Awards for this year.

Purisima said the GaKap Awards is an opportunity to honor the contributions of peacebuilders and peace workers.

"This honors the men and women whose love for their countrymen has enabled them to do extraordinary, life-changing things. They have played a key role in realizing all the gains of peace we have achieved over the years," he said. "These noble peacebuilders, who work in some of the most challenging areas across the country, are driven by a common purpose, and that is to promote the culture of peace."

The GaKap aims to recognize and appreciate selected peace advocates and organizations for the critical roles they have played in promoting peace in their own ways.

This includes accomplishments, milestones, and innovative peacebuilding programs that have been carried out in building on and sustaining the gains of peace in the country.

GaKap Secretariat head, Director Rowena Lopez, said the nomination is open for individuals coming from both government and non-government organizations, as well as institutions that have established a track record in peacebuilding.

For the individual category, awardees from the youth and women sectors will be chosen and another award will be given to an exemplary peace advocate.

GaKap Awards nominations will also be open to national government agencies, local government units, civil society organizations, the academe, and other private institutions.

The deadline for nominations will be on May 15, to be followed by evaluation and validation from June to August.

The GaKap Awards is scheduled sometime in September as the country celebrates National Peace Consciousness Month. (PNA) 

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