Tue, 07 Dec 2021

Yes for Peace gets green light from DND

Philippine Information Agency
16 Dec 2020, 18:38 GMT+10

CALOOCAN CITY, Dec. 16 (PIA) -- After a thorough assessment of the refined Yes for Peace-Bayanihan ng Bayan para sa Kapayapaan, Kaunlaran at Kasaganaan, the Department of National Defense threw in its support to the campaign that find its roots at the University of the Philippines System.

By the authority of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Undersecretary for Strategic Assessment and Planning Ricardo A. David, Jr. directed all employess of the DND proper to support the program by disseminating for completion and submission the Yes for Peace questionnaire.

The Yes For Peace questionnaire provides peace education to respondents, and at the same time, supports consensus building by asking these three basic questions in order to attain lasting peace:

1) Kailangan bang alamin, itaguyod at isabuhay ang mga Karapatan Pantao (Human Rights); ang mga Karapatan ng Bawat Bata (Rights of the Child) alinsunod sa mga resolusyon ng United Nations' General Assembly; at ang mga Karapatan ng mga Katutubo (Indigenous People's Rights) ayon sa RA# 8371 ng Republika ng Pilipinas?

2) Kailangan bang tutulan, hadlangan at labanan ang pagsusulong at paggamit ng armas, karahasan at pananakot o terorismo para isulong at ipagpilitan ninuman ang kanilang mga paniniwala, adhikain, ideolohiya o relihiyon?

3) Kailangan ba ang pagsang-ayon, pakikipagtulungan at partisipasyon ng mga maaapektuhan at makikinabang sa pagtukoy, pagpaplano at pagsasagawa ng mga proyekto at program's tungo sa hinahangad na Kapayapaan, Kaunlaran at Kasaganaan ng bawat komunidad?

To recall, back in 1996, one of the strategies identified during the 4th National Peace and Order Summit set to "eradicate the insurgency problem by addressing its root causes," was to "Establish the framework of Peace Negotiations through the national implementation of the 'Di-YES FOR PEACE - Bayanihan para sa Kapayapaan' Campaign."

The national implementation that ensued was simply the "referendum" or consensus building component of the campaign primarily through the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost), albeit Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Robert Z. Barbers issued an advisory enjoining LGUs to support the campaign.

During that time, the Philippine Information Agency produced and distributed infomercials to generate public awareness. The campaign exceeded the initial target of 500,000 by more than 100% even as the campaign banks purely on the volunteerism and assistance of peace-loving Filipinos.

Subsequently, a Memorandum of Undertaking was entered into among the following: OPAPP; DepEd; PhilPost; OPS-PIA; OPS-NPO; BSP; GSP; APO; and the Organizer, Yes for Peace in December 2002. The target set was 10 million respondents.

Inching its way through, more than 15 million responses have been generated, which are kept under the custody of the Philpost, particularly Mr. Antonio Oropesa, Head of its Record Section and Engr. Harris Cabutaje, Administrative Officer of its Central Office.

Lawyer Domingo B. Alidon, President of the DepEd National Employees Union attested, "Through the years, no protest was raised. More than 15 million Filipinos responded to the campaign making it an instrument that can unite the Filipino people."

"Considering that teachers across the country took the initiative of printing questionnaires, we were emboldened to raise the target to 30,000,000 to deliver a clear and verifiable message that the Filipino people reject the use of arms and violence to effect social change and sought the assistance and support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines," Alidon added.

Then, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Eduardo M. Ano issued a directive to the Commanders of its Unified Commands through Deputy Chief of Staff MGen Melquiades L. Feliciano, "Direct your U7s and SEVENS (7s) of your OPCON (INF DIVs, INF BDEs, INF BNs, CMO BNs) to engage their counterpart DepEd and CHED Officials stationed in their respective AORs by enjoining/urging them to comply with the DepEd/CHED Memoranda."

"Unfortunately, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Representative France Castro challenged DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones why DepEd is implementing Yes for Peace in a meeting of the House of Representatives Budget Committee focusing on the lack of a juridical entity of Yes for Peace barely six days upon the release of General Ano's directive." Johnny Balawag, Chairman of the DepEd NEU lamented.

Balawag continued, "This dumbfounded us since Castro should have known fully well that the DepEd NEU has adopted the campaign as its own. Sadly, another five days later, the implementation of Yes for Peace through DepEd was suspended. All efforts made to convince Secretary Briones to lift the suspension remained unheeded."

Facing a blank wall as far as generating more responses, organizers of the campaign decided to move on to the next phase of the campaign, the organization and mobilization of the people for the identification, budgeting, planning and implementation of peace and development projects in their respective Barangays in line with the "Bottom-up Planning and Budgeting program of the DILG and AmBisyon 2040 of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

Yes for Peace sought to disseminate a menu of government services listed with the cooperation of members of the Career Executive Service during summits and conferences organized by the Career Executive Service Board (CESB) through a "10 Weeks, 50 Stops" Peace and Development Caravan.

In a message recognizing the initiative, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said, "Cultural differences, political disputes and other socio-economic challenges are some of the reasons why our country cannot totally move forward. These issues have slowed down our growth and have built a barrier that prevents our citizens from realizing their potential."

"The government reaffirms our commitment in addressing these concerns. Peace building and development efforts clearly manifest the sincerity of our government in opening doors of opportunities for healing, reconciliation and possible partnerships for progress," the President added.

However, the need for pro-active involvement and collective participation of the Filipino people still remained.

The Alpha Phi Omega (APO) International Phils. Inc and Yes for Peace then submitted a proposal to get all Barangays in the country actively involved in mobilizing their respective constituents to Ano, who now leads the DILG.

After evaluating the proposal, DILG Assistant Secretary Roosque Calacat advised APO and Yes for Peace to apply for an accreditation to qualify as a non-government partner.

In March 2019, National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr invited Yes for Peace to participate in crafting the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC).

The Sectoral Unification, Capability Building, Empowerment and Mobilization (SUCBEM) cluster of NTF ELCAC submitted the "Adoption and Refinement of Yes for Peace-Bayanihan ng Bayan..." as part of its input to the National Action Plan submitted by Esperon and approved by Duterte.

In the early stages of the ground working and organization of the whole-of-government component of the plan, Esperon advised focal persons of Yes for Peace to work on its accreditation primarily by the Securities and Exchange Commission to clothe it a juridical entity needed for it to be able to enter into agreements with local, national and international institutions willing to help in building what could be the whole-of-people, half of the whole-of-nation approach.

Heeding his guidance, members of Alpha Phi Omega and the DepEd NEU, represented by Alidon, filed for the incorporation of Yes for Peace as a non-stock not for profit organization with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Lawyer Fortunato Guerrero, Executive Director of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, former Legal Adviser of APO Phils and current Corporate Secretary of Yes for Peace said, "It is amazing that after more than thirty years, nobody thought of registering 'Yes for Peace' with the SEC as if it was really meant to give the needed juridical entity to manage the implementation for Yes for Peace - Bayanihan ng Bayan para sa Kapayapaan, Kasaganaan at Kaunlaran to people who have actively been behind it."

Evelyn Canete-Evangelio, National Executive Director of APO Philippines said, "We are preparing the requirements set forth by the DILG and will submit these as soon as completed."

Marcelino "Tatang" Ferry, National President of APO Philippines said, "Inasmuch as Yes for Peace-Bayanihan ng Bayan para sa Kapayapaan, Kaunlaran at Kasaganaan has been our service to the nation as fully participating citizens for the past thirty years, we shall endeavor to mobilize our Collegiate Chapters and Alumni Associations for its implementation nationwide."

For his part, Mama S. Lalanto, al Haj, past National President of APO Philippines and current Chairman of Yes for Peace, Inc said, "We hope that we can bridge the apparently widening gap between the Hands-off Our Children and League of Parents decrying the recruitment of the youth into the CPP-NDF-NPA supporting the NTF-ELCAC and UP.

Leizel Lagrada-Rombaua, Executive Vice-President of Yes for Peace, Inc, said, "We look forward to the opportunity of getting them to work together for our common dream of Peace, Progress and Prosperity for the Philippines."

Ernesto A. Alcanzare, Yes for Peace organizer and now the President/Chief Executive Officer of Yes for Peace, Inc. said, "We believe that with the DND's open support to our campaign, we can get the indispensable support of all government agencies to help arouse, organize and mobilize the 'whole-of-people' component to complement the 'whole-of-government' the NTF-ELCAC has successfully set-up and thereby complete the 'Whole of Nation' approach to end the local communist armed conflicts as well as other armed conflicts in the country."

"We are grateful to UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo for allowing us to launch the refined Yes for Peace-Bayanihan ng Bayan para sa Kapayapaan, Kasaganaan at Kaunlaran in UP Diliman that is allegedly a fertile recruitment ground of armed revolutionaries and thereby giving us the opportunity to make it very clear that the campaign is an unarmed and peaceful alternative towards a just, unifying, sustainable and lasting peace that is truly of the Filipino people, by the Filipino people and for the Filipino people," Alcanzare, a former National Executive Director of APO Philippines said. (PIA NCR)

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