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Issue No.

The OPAPP Story

Three decades in pursuit of peace

The women and men of OPAPP

Peace builders and peace makers

March 2016


Editorial Board
Sec. Teresita Quintos Deles



Usec. Ma. Cleofe Gettie Sandoval

Jurgette Honculada
Paulynn Paredes Sicam

Editorial Staff



The OPAPP Story:

Three decades in pursuit
of peace









Sec. Teresita Ging

Quintos Deles
A strong sense of self
Usec. Luisito G. Montalbo
Its personal
Usec. Maria Cleofe
Gettie C. Sandoval
No secret ingredient
Usec. Jose I. Lorena
Keeping the faith
Asec. Jennifer Santiago
Praxis in practice


Asec. Danilo L. Encinas

In the service of five
Asec. Howard B.
Straight path to
development and peace
Asec. Rosalie C. Romero
Making things better




Table: Are we talking to
the right party?
Patience is bitter,
but its fruit is sweet

Kris L. Lacaba, Paulynn Paredes Sicam,

Jurgette Honculada, Mai Ylagan,
Melisa Yubokmee, Joser Dumbrique


Paulynn Paredes Sicam


Jurgette Honculada
Kris L. Lacaba
Melisa Yubokmee


Joser Dumbrique

Layout Artist

Mai Ylagan

This magazine is published bi-annually by
the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the
Peace Process
7th Floor, Agustin 1 Bldg.
F. Ortigas Jr. Road
Ortigas Center, Pasig City
+632 636 0701 to 07
+632 638 2216


Connect with us!






ON THE COVER: Peace at Hand by Toni Marie Luna, was a finalist in the Finding Peace
Photo Contest sponsored by the OPAPP in 2015. Says Luna, In spite of our religious and
political differences, living in peace should incorporate respect and love for each other.



Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
- Sren Kierkegaard

AS THE AQUINO ADMINISTRATION nears the end-term, it would be

apropos, following Danish philosopher Kierkegaard, to take a look backward,
and a look forward.
What gains did OPAPP score in 2010-16? For one, OPAPP came back on track,
with peace processes restored, peace tables functional, and the work of
peace embraced by the whole of government. For another, the concept
of Bangsamoro has entered public discourse. While faced with daunting
challenges, a higher level constituency and growing support are building an
irreversible momentum for the Bangsamoro peace process.
Over decades, the term Bangsamoro had become synonymous with secession, warfare, and dark undertones of
terrorism. At the 2012 signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, President Aquino declared of the
new political entity: it deserves a name that symbolizes honors and celebrates the history and character of
that part of our nation. The moment was electric, the pride palpable, when Bangsamoro became a symbol of peace
and a call to unity.
But we must also track the losses: the failure of peace advocates within and outside government to work the politics of
reform as evidenced in BBLs collapse, and the failure, as well, to prioritize and programmatize bridging the ChristianMuslim divide. The bile and vituperation flowing post-Mamasapano revealed, in the words of a Mindanaoan, the
fault lines, the fundamental hatred and antagonisms that need to be addressed for the BBL to grow deeper roots.
Mamasapano has forced us as a people to ask the hard questions: what divides us, what brings us together. We cannot
simply legislate a change of heart. We need to shift to a longer-term discourse and political agenda of nation building.
In seeking a peace that is just, enduring and inclusive, two challenges loom large: gender and geography. The first is
continuing, the second is, in a sense, fresh; but, in truth, both are as old as time.
Kababaihan at Kapayapaan (K&K) is predicated on the imperative that gender must infuse our peace making: from
counting the costs of war to ensuring that womens roles and contributions are made visible. Thus womens faces
and voices, their yearnings and ambition, have filled its pages. Yet the gender gap remains in how the burdens of
war and the benefits of peace are shared, reinforced by the mindset that the mailed fist has primacy over dialogue.
But change is coming, slowly but surely, in security sector reform that is redefining the meaning of security from the
narrow security of the state to a more wholistic security of the people; and in PAMANA that is winning the peace on
the ground village by village, overriding the drivers of conflict by clipping its talons.
Yet another challenge is the lumad, the indigenous peoples whose 110 ethnic groupings constitute at least 14
million, occupying five million hectares of ancestral domain. The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act has been called the
governments peace agreement with the IP community. But where is the peace when their ancestral domain has
turned into a battleground? Now the armed conflict in the ancestral domain has become more menacing and complex.
The peace that has found its way to the Bangsamoro must find its way to the lumad and their ancestral domain.
A peace that is just, enduring and for everyone is within our grasp. With the gift of hindsight, let us be daring peace
makers. Thus, I bid you farewell, thankful for the undeserved honor and privilege of steering OPAPP in the last six
May the Force be with the peace makers of the world.
March 2016


The OPAPP Story:

Three decades in pursuit of peace


Sec. Deles welcomes former communist rebels to civilian life in Loreto, Agusan del Sur.


PROSAIC: Office of the Presidential
Adviser on the Peace Process
(OPAPP); its location nondescript
several floors of a building dwarfed
by the high-rises that now dot the
Ortigas business center in Pasig City.

In the past year, it has been at the
center of a firestorm, a consequence
of its mandate to end two major
insurgencies through negotiated
settlements. And in the vortex of
the firestorm is a woman who, with
others like-minded, has sought to
craft a new vocabulary of peace
making which includes a peace lens


that counts the cost and causes

of conflict, and a gender lens to
surface the dynamism of the roles of
women in conflict: victim, survivor,
advocate, negotiator, healer.
At the start of the Aquino presidency
in 2010, the OPAPP was a house
divided, caught in stasis, scrambling
for creative approaches to peace.
The new Presidential Adviser on
the Peace Process (PAPP), Teresita
Quintos Deles, came into the house
with trepidation, but also with
confidence and hope in the singular
opportunity to reshape the narrative

and discourse of peace that had

heretofore been, at best in drift, at
worst muddled and militaristic.
The past six years have netted
OPAPP clear gains: the revival of
three peace tables; the passage of the
Comprehensive Agreement on the
Bangsamoro (CAB); mainstreaming
the concept of the Bangsamoro;
bringing completion and closure
to decades-old peace accords;
developing a technology of winning
the peace on the ground through
Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan
(PAMANA); and a work-in-progress:
Gender and Development (GAD) and
March 2016

the National Action Plan on Women,

Peace and Security (NAP WPS). It
also leaves OPAPP with a challenge:
the lumad or indigenous peoples
whose ancestral domain has been
turned into a battlefield.
Early pre-OPAPP days
The narrative of armed conflict and
peace making in the country is now
entering its fourth decade and OPAPP
has helped steer that narrative in
the last two. OPAPPs back story
begins, presciently, with two female
protagonists: Cory Aquino and a
nascent women-led peace movement.
A decade-and-a-half of martial rule
starting in 1972 under Ferdinand
Marcos left the economy in tatters
and fueled two insurgencies: the
Communist rebellion seeking to
overthrow the socio-economicpolitical order, and the Muslim
secessionist movement spearheaded
by the Moro National Liberation
Front (MNLF).
Cory Aquino, riding the crest of
People Power, quickly moved to
restore constitutional democracy.
In one of her first official acts,
she declared amnesty for political
prisoners and offered the olive
branch to the MNLF, the Communist
Party of the Philippines/New
Peoples Army/National Democratic

Front (CPP/NPA/NDF), and the

Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army
(CPLA), a breakaway group from
the latter. The talks with the CPP/
NPA/NDF and the MNLF faltered,
but negotiations with the CPLA fared
better, leading to the creation of the
Cordillera Administrative Region
(CAR) as an interim structure of
regional self-governance.
To rebuild the momentum for peace,
President Aquino appointed a peace
commissioner whose office supported
peace initiatives that included
conflict resolution conferences,
peace education and peace zones.
The peace zones were an assertion
of People Power on a smaller scale:
entire communities demanding that
their public and private spaces be
violence-free, effectively banning
the use and display of arms within
their boundaries.
At the same time, the militarys
counter-insurgency efforts
intensified (particularly after the
failure of talks with the CPP/NPA/
NDF in 1987), bringing down the
NPAs armed strength from 25,800
regulars in 1988 to 11,900 by the end
of Aquinos term in 1992.
When Cory Aquino declared 19902000 as a decade for peace, sectors
of civil society engaged in peace
advocacy formed the National

Peace Conference which took on

a more defined structure during
the term of Fidel Ramos. Ramos
targeted economic development
as his paramount goal, predicating
this on peace and order and
political stability, and making the
just, comprehensive and lasting
resolution of the armed conflict a
priority agenda (Palm-Dalupan,
2000). Like his predecessor, Ramos
sought reconciliation with the Left,
endorsing the repeal of the AntiSubversion law, initiating fresh
talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF, and
creating the National Unification
Commission (NUC).
The NUC launched a comprehensive
consultation process in 1993 that
covered 90% of the provinces,
and reached out to peace zone
communities and armed rebel
groups. Its final report became
the basis for Executive Order 125
on Defining the Approach and
Administrative Structure for the
Governments Comprehensive Peace
Efforts. EO 125 created the OPAPP
headed by a cabinet-level PAPP.
The Ramos administration launched
fresh talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF,
concluded Final Peace Agreement
(FPA) with the MNLF, and opened
talks and sealed a ceasefire
agreement with the MILF. Several
agreements were signed with the

Peace Zones
From Hungduan and Sagada up north to Tulunan and Pikit in the south, Naga south of Manila and Candoni in the central
islands, elders and townsfolk declared that the armed conflict was toxickilling their children, despoiling their landand
they had to carve sanctuaries in their villages, here and now.
The peace zones (also called zones of peace or zones of life) drew inspiration from EDSA 1986 when the civilian populace
literally stopped martial law in its tracks. For indigenous peoples in the north, peace zones were a variation on the
theme of bodong or peace pact that kept inter-tribal peace. Civil society, through NGOs like the Coalition for Peace (CfP),
Tabang Mindanaw and Kadtuntaya Foundation as well as churches and even former rebel commanders, played a big role in
nurturing the peace zones.

March 2016


Executive Order 125:

Six paths to peace

Pursuit of social, economic

and political reforms
Consensus building and
empowerment for peace
Peaceful, negotiated
settlement with rebel groups
Programs for reconciliation,
reintegration into mainstream
society, and rehabilitation
Addressing concerns arising
from continuing armed conflict
Building and nurturing a
climate conducive to peace

CPP/NPA/NDF, including the Hague

Joint Declaration, the Bruekelen
Joint Statement, the Joint Agreement
on Safety and Immunity Guarantees
(JASIG) and the Comprehensive
Agreement on Respect for
Human Rights and International
Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
The Hague Declaration provides
the basis for reopening talks and
CARHRIHL is the first of four
projected agreements that are to
constitute a final peace settlement.
Negotiations, in fits and starts, have
invariably ended in a stalemate on
various contentious issues.
The two-and-a-half year term of
Joseph Estrada (1998-January 2001)
followed by 10 years of the Arroyo
regime were confusing and perilous
times for the governments peace
initiatives. Estrada bulldozed his way
through the peace process with a
declaration of all-out war against
the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF) in 2000.
President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo immediately restored the
ceasefire with the MILF but, in
2003, a military assault in Buliok


in Central Mindanaos marshlands

initiated another round of violence
and displacement. Peace talks
and the ceasefireresumed, with
Malaysia now serving as thirdparty facilitator on the invitation
of government. However, the
Memorandum of Agreement on
Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) reached
by the two parties in 2008 was
declared unconstitutional by the
Supreme Court. Smarting from the
rebuff, two MILF rogue commanders
attacked predominantly Christian
settlements in northern Mindanao
causing massive devastation and
displacement. The peace table would
reopen in the last remaining months
of the Arroyo presidency, but this
time also including the participation
of the International Contact Group,
composed of international state and
non-state friends of the process
invited by the two parties.
On the CPP/NPA/NDF front, at the
end of Arroyos term, the peace
negotiations was on a seven-year
impasse in an increasingly militarist
atmosphere ushering in the specter
of impunity.
The second time around
How to straighten and revitalize
a dysfunctional OPAPP? How to
pick up the pieces in the aftermath
of renewed fighting between the
military and MILF forces and the
broken down peace talks with the
communists? This was not a task
for the faint-hearted, but Deles had
several things going for her.
For one, she had served briefly as
OPAPP head in 2003 to 2005, her
term cut short when she joined the
collective resignation of ten cabinet
members and heads of agencies
over the issue of high-level electoral
fraud. That first stint gave Deles an
insiders view of what ailed OPAPP

(and the larger structures of which

it was part) and what was needed to
restore its integrity and function.
For another, Deles had built networks
of support within civil society, the
product of decades of activism and
advocacy in the womens, and later,
the peace movements.
Third, the need for conceptual clarity
was borne, in no small measure, out
of her engagement in the womens
movement. Along with her feminist
colleagues, she believed that gender
could not be a mere afterthought
in, or appendage to, government
programs. Gender had to be
mainstreamed in the bureaucracy
and placed at the center of
government thinking and practice.
By the same token, peace could not
be a mere add-on or supplement
to governments business as usual.
It could not be relegated to one
small office whose only task was
to prepare for, and undertake,
negotiations with insurgent groups,
with what happened before, or what
would happen after, the talks of little
or no concern to the peace office.
For Deles, peace, like gender, had to
be a driving force in government,
informing its vision of development
and good governance, and infusing
its programs and services on the
Deles first term at OPAPP was marked
by the crafting of a comprehensive
peace plan that was mainstreamed
in government, as Chapter 14
of the Medium-Term Philippine
Development Plan: 2004-10.
House cleaning
As a returnee to OPAPP in 2010,
the first order of the day was
housecleaning, which meant
March 2016

Multiple tracks in Chapter 14 of the Medium-Term Philippine

Development Plan (MTPDP): 2004-2010
Peace making and peace keeping

Continuing and completing peace negotiations with rebel groups

Support for local efforts to immediately reduce violence on the ground
Completing the implementation of Final Peace Agreements
Strengthening and enhancement of programs for reintegration and rehabilitation of former combatants

Peace building and conflict prevention

Rehabilitation and development of conflict-affected areas

Catch-up development plan for Muslim Mindanao and affirmative action for Muslims
Support for interfaith/tri-peoples dialogue and community-based healing and reconciliation

reorganization not once, but several

times, followed by stabilization,
then consolidation.
OPAPP undersecretary and executive
director Louie Montalbo who helped
Deles in the post-Arroyo transition
recalls coming upon a damaged
organization, people distrustful of
each other. After Deles resignation
in 2005, Arroyo had appointed five
heads of office (or PAPPs) in as
many years; consequently there
was no continuity of leadership,
nor of programs and services. Not
wanting to get caught in a crossfire
(of leadership change), the staff
were on survival mode each unit
operating independently of the
other. This was also true of the
(negotiating) tables, where each
table kept pretty much to itself.
OPAPP, says Montalbo, was not
moving in the same direction.
Returning to OPAPP in 2010, Deles
vision (of what OPAPP should
be) was very much in place,
Montalbo says. President Aquinos
agenda included a just conclusion
of all internal armed conflict
during his term and Deles, from
experience, saw the need to pursue
complementary tracks to ending
armed conflict.
March 2016

Deles began by constituting full

panels for renewed talks with the
MILF and the CPP/NPA/NDF. Along
with designated senior staff, she
would assume responsibility for the
other tables which were focused
not on negotiating new political
settlements but on completing
the implementation of existing
agreements. The MILF and the CPP/
NPA/NDF constituted the two major
insurgent groups in the country,
the former with over 10,000 core
combatants and the latter with over
4,000 armed regulars.
Two other tables were categorized
as closure tables aimed at
achieving the final disposition of
arms and forces a decade or two
after the signing of their peace
agreements; and a third table
was in an over-extended review
process. The closure tables were
with the CBA-CPLA in northern
Luzon and the Rebolusyonaryong
Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas/
Revolutionary Proletarian Army/
Alex Boncayao Brigade-Tabara
Paduano Group (RPMP/RPA/ABBTPG) primarily based in western
Visayas. The third table consisted of
the OIC-facilitated Tripartite Review
Process (TRP) of the implementation
of the GPH-MNLF 1996 FPA.

The MNLF table

Publicly announcing its existence
in 1972 with university professor
Nur Misuari as chair, the MNLF
spearheaded the Muslim secessionist
struggle against the dictatorship, its
armed strength peaking to 30,000
according to sources, capable of
engaging the military in largescale warfare. In 1976, the MNLF
signed the Tripoli Agreement with
the Marcos government brokered
by the Organization of the Islamic
Conference or OIC (now Organization
of Islamic Cooperation), which
provided for autonomy in southern
Philippines and a ceasefire.
The truce broke down in 1977, the
year Hashim Salamat left the MNLF
to form the MILF. The MNLFs
numbers declined and, by 1983, it
had only 15,000 armed regulars. In
1996, Misuari reached a FPA, which
constitutes the full implementation
of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement,
with the Ramos government. With
the full backing of the national
government, he was elected
governor of the Autonomous Region
in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and
concurrently appointed chair of the
Southern Philippines Council for
Peace and Development covering

From left: OIC Special Envoy for Southern Philippines Ambassador Sayed El Masry, OPAPP Usec. Jose I. Lorena,
OPAPP Sec. Teresita Quintos Deles, OIC Secretary General Iyad Amin Bin Madani, MNLF spokesperson Atty.
Randolph Parcasio and MNLF representatives Muslimin Sema and Samsula Adju at the high-level tripartite meeting
on January 26, 2016, in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

the original 13 provinces under the

Tripoli Agreement. His term was
generally marked by corruption and
mismanagement. In 2001, following
the passage of RA 9054 which
amended the earlier organic act and
expanded the area of coverage of the
autonomous region. Misuari led a
failed uprising against government
and was eventually jailed. The MNLF
further split into several factions.
In 2007, at the behest of the OIC, the
GPH commenced the TRP, with the
aim of identifying obstacles to, as
well as modalities towards pushing,
the full implementation of the 1996
Agreement. After the 4th Tripartite
ministerial meeting in 2011 and
two Ad Hoc High-Level meetings
in 2011 and 2012, respectively,
the government moved for the
completion of the extended review
process. In September, 2014, one
week before the scheduled TRP
meeting to discuss the GPH proposal,
MNLF followers identified with
Misuari attacked Zamboanga City
leading to two-weeks of hostilities
that claimed over 100 lives and
displaced over 100,000 civilians.
Finally, in January 2016, the
government, the MNLF, and the
OIC issued a joint communiqu
marking the conclusion of the


TRP eight years after it began. The

joint communiqu identified four
areas for implementation. Its most
important provision centers on
the forging of common grounds
between the MILF, as the Party to
the Comprehensive Agreement on
the Bangsamoro (CAB), and the
MNLF, as the Party to the 1996 FPA,
to ensure that the gains of the 1996
FPA are preserved and the CAB are
fully implemented with the end goal
of integrating the gains achieved
in these peace agreements in the
Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) (OIC
Resolution 2/42 P.3). The parties
further assure the vital role and
participation of the MNLF in the
transitional authority to be set up
under the BBL.
With the completion of the
review process, the Tripartite
Implementation Monitoring
Committee (TIMC) will be set up
before the end of the Aquino term.
This will monitor the implementation
of the specific commitments in the
joint communiqu. Thus the way is
paved for closer coordination, if not
convergence, between the two main
forces that have been in contention
in leading the Bangsamoro struggle
for self-determination for nearly
four decades.

The GPH-MILF table

Starting talks afresh with the MILF
was not easy following the debacle of
the MOA-AD.
Can we trust you? the MILF
asked government. The newly
constituted government (GPH) panel,
led by Dean Marvic Leonen of the
University of the Philippines (UP)
College of Law, needed to maneuver
an often tense and tenuous table.
In August 2011, in what the MILF
has termed a grand gesture,
President Aquino broke protocol to
personally meet with MILF Chair Al
Haj Murad Ebrahim in Narita, Japan.
In September 2012, the panels signed
the milestone Framework Agreement
on the Bangsamoro (FAB).
When Leonen accepted a second
presidential appointment as
associate justice of the Supreme
Court, panel member Miriam
Coronel-Ferrer, a UP professor,
was appointed panel chair. Ferrer
ably steered the GPH panel in its
negotiations up to the signing of
the CAB in 2014 and beyond. What
helped keep the negotiations on
course was a ceasefire agreement
signed by both sides as early as 1997
which held the peace when things
March 2016

President Aquino and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front launch the Sajahatra Bangsamoro at a ceremony held in
Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on February 11, 2013.

were difficult on the table, says

Montalbo. With both the FAB and
CAB signed, and the BBL awaiting
legislative approval, the Bangsamoro
train seemed unstoppable. But in
fact it was.
A botched encounter between
police commandos and MILF forces
at Mamamsapano in January 2015
gravely, although not fatally,
wounded the Bangsamoro peace
process. It wasnt immediately clear
what happened and why the tragic
loss of lives. Top police officials were
less than forthcoming in Senate
hearings and there were gaps in
testimonies that allowed oppositors
and unscrupulous politicians to
derail the BBL and discredit the
peace process.
However, both the GPH and MILF
have worked to establish, and they
continue to expand and strengthen
these mechanisms to ensure that
hard-won gains will not be reversed.
Through a tight and often confusing
run-up to the May national elections,
OPAPP efforts persist to ensure that
that the legal-political track to the
full implementation of the CAB,
inclusive of all major stakeholders,
successfully crosses over to the
next administration.
March 2016

Multiple tables
Much attention has been given to
the multiple tables or the robust
architecture that has been set up
to support the main negotiating
table. Hence, the GPH-MILF joint
Coordination Committee on the
Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) was
established with additional support
from an International Monitoring
Team (IMT). The IMT is also charged
with monitoring humanitarian,
rehabilitation, development and
socio-economic aspects of signed
agreements and observance of
International Humanitarian Law
and respect for human rights.
Another body, the Ad Hoc Joint
Action Group (AHJAG) is focused
on the isolation and interdiction of
all criminal syndicates including
so-called lost commands operating
in Mindanao. The terms of both
the IMT and AHJAG are renewed
annually and have been extended
until 2017.
The list of support bodies and
mechanisms which have been
set up by the panels includes
the Transitional Justice and
Reconciliation Commission as part
of the CAB annex on normalization
and the Joint Task Forces on Camps

Transformation (JTFCT) as part of the

decommissioning process. A Third
Party Monitoring Team, composed
of local and foreign experts, has
been put up and will function up
to the signing by the parties of the
prescribed Exit Agreement.
Yet another buttress for the GPHMILF peace process is the peace
constituency, which is most robust
in Mindanao but also vocal in Metro
Manila and elsewhere. This vital
support encompasses academe, big
business, the churches and interfaith
bodies, and other civil society groups
which, time and again, have rallied
in numbers whenever the process is
imperiled and spirits are flagging.
This wholistic approach to peace
building and peacekeeping informs
OPAPPs vision of the peace process:
aggregating the strength of many
and holding fast in the face of
political grandstanding, groundless
recriminations, ugly mudslinging,
bureaucratic indifference and
generations-old biases coming
to the fore.
High hopes attended the resumption
of government peace talks with

the CPP/NPA/NDF in 2011,

after a seven-year impasse. The
reconstituted GPH panel was headed
by a human rights lawyer, Health
Undersecretary Alexander Padilla,
and its composition reflected a
geographical, sectoral, as well as
gender balance.
A December 2010 ceasefire, the
longest Christmas ceasefire to date,
and two informal talks augured well
for the conduct of negotiations that
sought to tackle three comprehensive
agreementson socio-economic
reforms, political and constitutional
reforms, and the end of hostilities
and disposition of forceswhich,
along with the already-concluded
CARHRIHL would comprise the final
peace agreement between the GPH
and the CPP/NPA/NDF.
In the first formal peace talks in
Oslo in February 2011, the GPH
panel pressed for an accelerated
timetable of negotiations to ensure
there would be ample time for
implementation after the conclusion
of the Final Peace Agreement. The
GPH panels engaged in a side
table to address the release of
alleged political offenders as well
as the issue of safety and immunity

guarantees that had derailed past

negotiations. The main table was to
focus on completing in the next 18
months negotiations on the three
remaining agreements. Finally, the
panels agreed to the release of the
NDFs detained consultants but
subject to the verification detailed in
the JASIG. Four months later, in June
2011, the verification process failed
when the sealed envelopes that had
been stored in a safety deposit box
in a Netherlands bank contained no
photographs of the NDF consultants
who had been listed under their
aliases, as prescribed by the JASIG,
but rather old, encrypted diskettes
which the NDF could not decrypt.
Given this bleak scenario amidst
an escalating word war, rising
violence on the ground, and an
intractable framework for peace
negotiations, the time seemed ripe
for a different approach.
In 2011, CPP founder and NDF chief
political consultant Jose Maria
Sison proffered a special track
(ST) to negotiations that would
not be burdened with the usual
conditionalities invoked by the NDF.
By late 2012 after several discreet
meetings, the parties agreed to carry

out discussions on a joint declaration

of national unity, a ceasefire, the
creation of an advisory committee to
recommend reforms, among others.
But when both sides met in early
2013, the NDF did a turnaround and
presented three draft agreements
that would not only return the talks
to the onerous framework of the
regular track but even add more
objectionable preconditions, such
as the termination of governments
Conditional Cash Transfer program
On the heels of the STs collapse,
the GPH panel engaged in a series
of public conversations nationwide
to update peace constituencies
and the public on the state of the
peace talks and generate proposals
on how to move forward. Drawn
from insights gleaned from these
consultations, along with lessons
distilled from the experience of
past GPH panels, a new approach
was proposed to include the
following components: talking
to the right authority within the
Party, agenda bound (doable) and
time-bound engagement, and a
ceasefire or measures lowering the
level of violence on the ground.
In the remaining months of this
administration, the panel is focused
on refining its recommendations
to be able to turn over a peace table
to the next administration that is less
burdened by the rigidities of the past.
As early as 2014, the CPP/NPA/
NDF has said that they were
willing to wait for a new
administration to resume
singular efforts by the Third Party
Facilitator, the Royal Norwegian
Government, to revive the talks,
they remain at a standstill.

GPH-C/N/N peace talks, Oslo, Norway, February 2011.


The government has stood fast on

principled negotiations based on
March 2016

socio-economic reintegration;
community development projects;
and legacy documentation, all of
which are meant to contribute to
the CPLAs transformation into an
unarmed socio-economic force.
Under disposition of arms and
forces, a total of 337 firearms
have been turned over to the
Philippine National Police (PNP) for
safekeeping. These firearms are due
for demilitarization and destruction
in March 2016.
Army integrees from the CPLA in Gamu, Isabela, November 9, 2015.

good faith and a sincere desire to

achieve peace. As long as the CPP/
NPA/NDF holds on to the primacy
of armed struggle, with the peace
negotiations as subsidiary to it,
the peace process will not go far.
The repeated collapse of GPH-CPP/
NPA/NDF peace talks under five
presidencies in over three decades
bears testament to this.
The CBA-CPLA table
The CPLA split from the NPA,
constituting its first major
splintering, in protest over the
latters lack of respect for indigenous
Cordillera culture and identity
which was under grave threat
from the martial law governments
plan to build the Chico River dam
which would have extensively
inundated portions of the Cordillera
mountainous homeland, including
forests, farmlands, and sacred
grounds. Responding to President
Cory Aquinos early peace overtures,
CPLA founder, the former priest
Conrado Balweg, reached agreement
with the government with the
signing of a sipat or a ceasefire
agreement in 1987.
With the signing of the sipat,
the Cordillera elders signified a
March 2016

renewed pursuit of their aspirations,

embodied in the autonomy ideal,
under a political climate where they
no longer saw the need for armed
struggle. With the legislative process
for autonomy aborted in two failed
plebiscites, however, they have since
engaged the government from one
administration to the next seeking
concessions and the completion of
governments commitments under
the sipat. In time, the original group
has splintered into factions. While
it no longer fought government, its
members continued to hold arms
and follow a command structure
which has lent itself to lawless and
criminal undertakings.
The CBA-CPLA finally signed
a Closure Agreement, entitled
Towards the CPLAs Final
Disposition of Arms and Forces and
Its Transformation into a Potent
Socio-Economic and Unarmed
Force, with the present Aquino
government in July 2011, thereby
constituting the first peace accord to
be signed under this administration.
With the understanding that a
renewed autonomy track should be
pursued with Congress and no longer
on the peace table, the agreement
includes the following components:
the disposition of arms and forces;

Under the socio-economic

integration component, a total of 168
sons, daughters, and next-of-kin of
the former CPLA members have been
integrated into the regular force of
the AFP.
Another 511 former members
have been hired as Department of
Environment and Natural Resources
(DENR) forest guards. The rest
of the profiled CPLA members
have organized themselves into
peoples organizations availing of
livelihood with capability-building
support from Department of Social
Welfare and Development (DSWD),
Department of Agriculture (DA),
and the Offices of the Cordillera
provincial governors.
Under community development
projects, 62 out of 81 projects
have been completed, with the
remaining 11 projects ongoing. The
former CPLA combatants have been
organized and registered with the
Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC) as the Cordillera Forum for
Peace and Development (CFPD,
Inc.). CFPD now sits in the Cordillera
Administrative Regions (CAR)
Regional Peace and Order Council
(RPOC), representing civil society.
The legacy document has been
completed and officially turned

over to the CBA and the CFPD,

Inc. As the only table that has
completed the cycle of signing and
implementing a peace agreement,
the legacy document is an invaluable
contribution to the peace process.
It is also a necessary part of closure
to give due recognition to the
crucial role the group has played in
Cordilleras proud history.
In December 2000, the RPMP/RPA/
ABB-TPG, a splinter group of the
NPA primarily based in Western
Visayas, signed a peace agreement
with the Estrada government one
month before it was ousted from
office. While the implementation of
the agreement proceeded under the
Arroyo administration, it remained
unfinished business when the Aquino
government assumed office ten years
later, with the group still holding
arms and operating as an army.
The GPH and the TPG have agreed
on the elements of the closure
agreement that the parties are
targeting to be signed before
the end of this administration.
Similar to the GPH-CBA-CPLA
Memorandum of Agreement, one
major component is the disposition
of arms and forces. The parties have
agreed to a full and immediate
disposition of the groups weaponry,
based on the results of the
inventory of firearms, ammunition
and explosives belonging to its
profiled members. Accordingly, 556
firearms and 404 ammunition and
explosives have been gathered from
its members and will be turned over
to the government for destruction
upon the signing of the closure
With the turnover of its arms,
the group commits to transform


itself into a legal entity engaging

in legitimate socio-economic and
political activities. In this regard,
the group has been organized as a
cooperative and registered with
SEC under the name Kapatiran. Its
party list Abang Lingkod won a seat
in the House of Representatives in
the 2013 elections.
Community Peace Dividends
(CPD) refer to 100 barangays,
jointly identified by the TPG and
government agencies, which
will benefit from development
interventions to reduce their
vulnerability to armed groups and
ensure that they experience the
concrete, inclusive benefits of the
Closure Agreement.
Upon the signing of the Closure
Agreement, the government shall
commence with the processing of
alleged political offenders (APOs)
towards providing them with the
available and appropriate legal relief.
Since 2013, interagency technical
working groups at the provincial
level in Negros Occidental, Aklan,
Negros Oriental and other affected
areas have been undertaking
preparatory work in anticipation

of the eventual signing of the

agreement. Since 2013, a total of 128
TPG members have been employed
as forest guards by DENR, while
another 55 have availed of livelihood
opportunities under DENRs National
Greening Program with Kapatiran.
Members have also been provided
support and assistance in the form of
health insurance from PhilHealth and
study grants from the Commission on
Higher Education (CHED).
Tough as it is to win the war, winning
the peace on the table, or on the
ground, is even harder. And it is clear
to OPAPP that when the table gets
stuck, and especially when it stalls,
winning the peace on the ground
becomes all the more necessary.
PAMANA, the Filipino word for
legacy, is also is the acronym for
Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan,
which refers to peaceful and resilient
communities. PAMANA is the Aquino
governments framework to bring
peace and development to conflictaffected and conflict-vulnerable
areas, many of which are remote
and inaccessible.

PAMANA road rehabiliation project in Zamboanga Sibugay

March 2016

OPAPP has envisioned a development

program for conflict-affected areas
(CAAs), with specifications relative
to the status and requirements of
the five peace tables. PAMANA is
present in seven geographical zones
that were chosen and prioritized
to complement the ongoing peace
processes (see box). Using available
government and other data, the total
number of barangays to be covered
was whittled down from 8,000 to
5,000, representing nearly 12% of the
total 42,000 barangays nationwide.
PAMANA aims to reduce poverty,
improve governance and empower
communities. It draws together
over a dozen government agencies
to deliver social services such as
health and education, infrastructure,
and livelihood, including farming
and fishing equipment. PAMANA
agencies include the DA, DAR, DILG,
NCIP, NEA, NIA, PhilHealth, and
the ARMM Regional Government.
Local governments are important
partners in the implementation
of PAMANA. The Armed Forces of
the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP
provide the necessary security
support and sometimes AFPs
Engineering Brigade undertakes
construction work in high-security
areas. OPAPP exercises oversight
over PAMANA and is tasked with
training, providing guidelines, and
monitoring and evaluation.
In 2011, its first year, PAMANA
programs were pilot-tested: with
ARMM-DSWD for shelter, DAR
for agrarian reform, and local
governments for sub-regional
development. With its oversight
function, OPAPP, by 2014, had visited
all 5,000 PAMANA barangays. Under
DSWDs Community Development
Driven (CDD) program, each
barangay receives PhP300,000
annually for a period of three
March 2016

years to undertake a peace and

development project of its own
choice. According to Asec. Howard
Cafugauan, CDD projects are
designed to avoid elite capture
with processes that involve a wide
range of stakeholders. Training is
also provided under DBMs
bottom-up budgeting or BUB
which engages local stakeholders in
the budgeting process.
Since PAMANA communities must
contend with both poverty and
conflict, the usual parameters and
performance standards often do not
apply to its projects. Government
agencies would ordinarily steer clear
of conflict areas because of security
and related concerns. For instance,
under its regular program, DPWH
will not undertake infrastructure
building in high-risk areas with
no return on investment (ROI).
But under PAMANA performance
indicators are based on peace and
security, not ROI. Thus roads are
built where no roads would have
reached, observes Cafugauan.
The Spanish funding agency for
development, Agencia Espaola
de Cooperacin Internacional
para el Desarrollo (AECID), has
provided support to train PAMANAparticipating national agencies
and local government units (LGUs)
in conflict-sensitive planning and
peace building processes. The way
has been opened to mainstream the
peace agenda, or install a peace
lens, in the work of government
across different agencies from the
national to local levels. An evaluation
of PAMANA will soon be undertaken
by De La Salle University which will
review national government projects
for conflict sensitivity and peace
promotion (CSPP).
PAMANA regional managers and
coordinators are from the area and

Areas covered by
Areas covered by the Bangsamoro
Central Mindanao
Areas vulnerable to conflict with
Samar Island
Davao-Compostela ValleyCARAGA
Areas covered by closure programs
Cordillera Administrative
Region (CAR)

therefore have a strong sense of

ownership. Two CARAGA regional
staff members report that PAMANA
projects are helping win back peoples
trust in government which they
perceive had long neglected them.
As of December 2015, barangays
in Butuan City and in Surigao City
highly vulnerable to conflict have
benefited from nearly 1,200 projects
under DSWDs CDD program: potable
water, sustainable livelihood, farm
development including rice mill
and pre- and post-harvest facilities,
provision of fishing equipment, etc.
Lumad communities used to view
road projects negatively, associating
them with the entry of mining firms.
Community meetings were held to
explain that the project belonged to
the community, not the mayor. Thus
the people had to learn to protect
it. IPs have started to return to their
AD especially with the entry of such
PAMANA projects as delineation and
titling of the AD, and construction


of a tribal house. PAMANA has also

helped resolve intra- and intertribal conflict.
PAMANA staff point to the technical
working group (TWG) as a best
practice because it pools the
expertise of various agencies for
smooth project implementation:
DILG serves as fund manager; NCIP
ensures observance of free, prior
and informed consent (FPIC); DPWH
ensures that roads are well built
and completed; and the PNP-AFP
provide security In high-risk areas.
Indeed, PAMANA projects pose
extra risks to staff. For instance,
a CARAGA area coordinator was
with a group inspecting a reservoir
intake box in Surigao del Sur when
they were held by around 15 NPA
members for three hours, given
lectures (gi-doktrinahan), warned
that PAMANA projects must stop,
and threatened with death if they
reported to the military.
Still the PAMANA workers
persevere, saying that most
PAMANA projects help unite and
solidify the community. A water
system, for instance, motivates
residents to return to the village
and community ownership
encourages them to maintain and
improve the facility by moving it
from level 2 (tap stands) to level 3

Where PAMANA is a means to

mainstream a peace lens at various
levels of governance and the
communities they serve, the NAP
WPS adds gender to the equation.

up a critical mass on center stage

(as panel members) and behind the
scenes (as heads and key members of
secretariat, legal and technical staff,
and the like).

The Philippine NAP WPS was

spurred, in the main, by United
Nations Security Council Resolution
(UNSCR) 1035 which focuses on the
impact of armed conflict on women
and girls, and seeks protection
of their rights. A later resolution
(UNSCR 1890) highlights the issue of
sexual violence against women and
girls in situations of armed conflict.

In a sense, drawing up the NAP WPS

was like fitting together the pieces of
a jigsaw puzzle.

NAP WPS twin goals are (1)

protection of womens human rights
in armed conflict and prevention
of violations; and (2) participation
and empowerment. Two support
mechanisms are (1) promotion and
mainstreaming; and (2) monitoring
and evaluation.
The Philippines scores high in terms
of participation of women in peace
processes, formal and otherwise.
Miriam Coronel Ferrer, head of
the government panel negotiating
with the MILF, signed the CAB. Few
women, if any, can lay claim to the
singular honor of signing a major
peace accord. In OPAPPs approach
to peace processes, women make

Women are at the front, back and

center of armed conflict in the
country, yet they are mostly cast in
passive roles of victims and survivors.
That their roles as advocate, mediator
and healer needed to be recognized,
and that their special needs as women
in situations of armed conflict needed
to be addressed was one part of the
puzzle. Another part were the legal
and policy mandates for gender
mainstreaming in government which
moved slowly, unevenly through the
decades. Yet another part was the
fact that peace, like gender, needed
to be mainstreamed within and
outside government.
The NAP WPS is the pairing of the
peace lens (or conflict sensitivity
lens) with the gender lens for a
clearer view of why armed conflict
occurs, how armed conflict is
sustained, who pays the costs of
conflict, and what it takes to disarm
the conflict.

Truly, barangay by barangay,

PAMANA is living up to the
promise of peaceful and resilient
Like PAMANA, the Philippine NAP
WPS is a value added to the OPAPP
as it seeks to strengthen its mandate
and practice of peace making in a
variety of ways.


OPAPP employees at the Womens Month Celebration, March 2014.

March 2016

The GAD fund, enshrined in

Philippine law and policy, provides
the wherewithal for NAP WPS
programs in government. Let
GAD be NAP sounds like facile
sloganeering, but in fact it makes
a lot of sense. On the one hand,
all government offices (National
Government Agencies) NGAs and
LGUs alikeare mandated to
allocate at least 5% of their budgets
for GAD activities that will make a
difference in womens lives. Yet the
GAD fund has often been abused,
misused or left unused.
On the other hand, taking on the
agenda of peace and security for
women on a national scale is no
walk in the park. There are gender
sensitivity sessions to be undertaken,
gender planning to be done, gender
monitoring to be formulated. And
the concrete projects and programs
emerging from all this comes with a
bill of particulars.
Many excellent Philippine laws
languish for lack of funds. Pairing
the need (NAP WPS) with the
wherewithal (GAD Fund) was
a tour de force by OPAPP. The
various structures and mechanisms
that make up the NAP WPS, the
capability-building activities to
match form with contenthave

been documented in past issues

of Kababaihan at Kapayapaan. This
long-overdue pairing of peace and
gender is slowly bearing fruit.
The journey continues
The journey of OPAPP in the past
six years has been a perilous one,
with five ambitious peace tables,
each with its own set of problems,
set-backs and dilemmas. But it has
enabled and even enriched these
processes with a unique vision
that has moved these processes
out of their traditional boxes with
the introduction of the peace and
gender lenses through PAMANA
and NAP WPS. This has aided
government in winning the peace
on the ground, community by
community, even as it struggles
with the various insurgencies at the
peace tables.
The end note, however, is also
one of unfinished business, With
the clock ticking on the Aquino
administration, OPAPP is working
double time to ensure that todays
gains will not be reversed tomorrow.
There is the BBL which failed to
be passed by the last Congress, on
which the Bangsamoro peoples
continue to pin their hopes for peace

and development. The talks with

the CPP/NPA/NDF must be revived
under a more flexible framework
so that it has a chance to succeed.
The RPMP/RPA/ABB-TPG closure
agreement must be completed with a
better understanding of the needs of
the former rebels on the ground.
PAMANAs success in bringing
water systems, electricity, roads
and other basic services that have
changed the lives of communities in
distant conflict-affected areas must
be expanded, replicated, its lessons
internalized. PAMANA has shown
that if reforms, or services, are
genuine and motivated by love of
country and people, they can never
come too little, too late.
PAMANA will soon undergo a
formal evaluation process. It might
help to ask how many villages have
fought back against revolutionary
taxation, and whether they
succeeded. Like the CBA-CPLA legacy
document, that would be a template
in great demand.
Many lessons have been learned
and insights gained from OPAPPs
endeavors in the last six years.
These have to be documented,
analyzed, manualized, popularized,
shared, celebrated.
Finally, there is the matter of the
lumad or katutubo, the indigenous
peoples whose ancestral domain
has become both boon and
battlefield. Both the NPA and
corporate interests have cast
covetous eyes on the lumad as
recruits or on their territory where
mining has supplanted logging as a
source of riches.

PAMANA accessibility projects help sustain livelihood.

March 2016

We leave the OPAPP with more

questions than answers. But as the
poet Rainer Maria Rilke says, Live
the questions now



Secretary Teresita Ging Quintos Deles

A strong sense of self


Ging Deles through the years: The politics of hair

GENDER AND PEACE have been the interweaving

leitmotifs in Teresita Quintos Deles life, translated into
the twin desiderata of poetry and power for women in
full measure, and peace here and now, especially for
those caught in the cross hairs of armed conflict.
Now in her mid-60s, Deles is ready for whatever life
brings her when she leaves the position of Presidential
Adviser on the Peace Process (PAPP) after the May
elections. She has held the post twice: upon the
invitation of then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in
2003, resigning as part of the Hyatt 10 (cabinet officials
who broke with Arroyo on the issue of unbridled
election corruption) in 2005; and, second, as appointee
of incoming President Benigno S. Aquino III in 2010.
Deles heads the OPAPP, an office bearing the same
title she does. Kin and intimates call her Ging; at work
she is PAPP.


Donning the chador

Several images sum up the passages in her life, thus far:

the ingenue, fresh from college, teaching and mentoring
others; the young adult on the cusp of wifehood and
motherhood; the budding feminist building womens
groups and coalitions; the ardent peace advocate
birthing, with other like-minded, peace groups and
coalitions; the crossover from NGO to GO, testing the
waters of bureaucracy.
The latest snapshot, stark and startling, is of a Deles
draped in a black chador (traditional Muslim garb
combining headscarf, veil and shawl). The occasion was
the conclusion, in January, of the Tripartite Review
Process in Jeddah of the implementation of the 1996
peace pact between the Moro National Liberation
Front and the Philippine government. Deles has a look
both regal and inscrutable, not evincing defeat (over
March 2016

Congress failure to pass the Bangsmoro Basic Law),

but more calling to mind Robert Frosts but I have
promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.
Another shorthand rendering of Deles milestones is
through the politics of hair. In college and as a young
teacher, Deles wore her hair straight and waist-length
in hippie fashion; as a feminist-activist and NGO
stalwart she sported wavy tresses (singing with gusto
of silken curls, lines borrowed from musical theater
which, like opera, she loves); and, in the transition from
civil society to civil service, the curls going chop-chop,
perhaps prefiguring the pragmatism essential to
a growing political sense. And when public service
moved from fighting poverty to winning peace from
out of the shards of war, the hairdo became a dont
worn close-cropped. This no-nonsense style also
reflects Deles persona: low-key, straightforward, and,
mostly, what-you-see-is-what-you-get.
Youngest of six children to a pediatrician father (who
was once Philippine General Hospital director) and a
mother who nurtured her brood as she did her roses,
with exquisite fare and care, Deles led a typical middle
class existence. But her maverick streak manifested
itself in a year-and-a-half stint as secondary school
teacher, introducing a new curriculum of poetry and
various readings with Simon and Garfunkel playing in
the background, and coming to class in beads, bangles
and miniskirt. Inquirer columnist Rina Jimenez-David
says that she bloomed as a student under Deles.
Soon after, Deles was mentoring college students in
alternative education for the SPES Institute (SPES is Latin
for hope), an NGO that focused on community organizing
among the urban poor. In 1972, prolonged rains flooded
Central Luzon for 40 days prompting Ateneo students
to organize to help flood victims. As their mentor,
Deles helped the students process their life-changing
experiences, fielding questions such as, How can our
volunteer work not simply remain a weekend thing?
The Social Development Index was born a few years later
to provide young graduates with alternative career paths,
no more schizophrenic shuttling between two different
worlds. Four decades ago, INDEX, founded by Deles,
husband Jojo and Karen Taada, had begun to address
the dilemma of paid work (money) vs. volunteer work
(conscience) by crafting careers in alternative lawyering,
doctoring and other fields.
March 2016

Founding of PILIPINA

Yet another dilemma, contradiction if you will, would

rear its head. When the INDEX singles met, married and
became couples, they did so on an equal footing. But
when the babies started coming, along with stepped-up
housework, the burden invariably, or disproportionately,
fell on the women. The husbands were no male
chauvinists but the young marrieds had to contend
with the weight of culture, tradition and society,
including household and emotional arrangements
that shortchanged women and privileged men. In NGO
gatherings, as well, Deles and other women would
gravitate towards each other and compare their deficits.
Although the contemporary womens liberation
movement in the United States dates back to the mid60s, the issues it raised took at least a decade or longer
to roil and rankle in Filipino women, many middle class,
who were engaged in social movements. The reason,
Deles says, is that we had to take the issue home.
And the issue took shape and form in the double
burden, in pay and rank discrimination, in the double
standard, some sexual harassment, lack of child care. In
1981 Deles and three others founded the first feminist
organization in the country, PILIPINA.
The imperative of an alternative lifestyle (without
which alternative careers would lack grounding) grew
along with a feminist consciousness whose central
tenet was, and is, The personal is political. Remedios
Rikken, chair of the Philippine Commission on Women
and PILIPINA co-founder, credits Deles with her stress
on a counterculture that critiqued the consumerist
mainstream, devising alternative ways of celebration
and stressing the essentials (Christmas is Christs birth,
not Santa Claus), parenting (shared), child-rearing
(collegial, not competitive).
Within half a decade of PILIPINAs founding, the
EDSA uprising would upend the martial law regime,
install Cory Aquino as President, and open up
democratic space. Emergent womens groups rose to
the challenge of womens organizing, advocacy and
networking. Gender equality and empowerment
became their rallying cry. PILIPINA, and Deles as its
founding chair, played key roles in the formation of
half a dozen womens groups and coalitions including
the Philippine Womens Research Collective, Lakas ng


Kababaihan, Legal Advocates for Women and Womens Action Network

for Development.
It is noteworthy that Deles has been convenor to many groups and
coalitions in the womens and peace movements. Karen Taada, Deles longtime colleague, says that Deles is able to draw people of diverse viewpoints
together on common ground, taking pains to discuss finer points, bending
here, coaxing there.
At a liberated zone, EDSA 1986

Abanse! Pinay

With President Cory Aquino as

Commissioner of NCRFW

At a 1992 conference to mark the organizations first decade, PILIPINA

chapters were celebrating gains in consciousness raising and organizing.
But why, Deles asked, are we still begging at the table of the patriarchs?
referring to several landmark gender bills languishing in a male-dominated
Congress. PILIPINAs second decade theme was women and public power.
PILIPINA spearheaded the formation of Abanse! Pinay, the first womens
party list group in Congress. That insight and challengeof women
claiming their space at the tablehas remained with Deles ever since.
Peace advocacy

National Decade for Peace, 1990

At the same time, the peace movement was slowly but steadily gaining traction.
Declaring an amnesty for political prisoners in 1986, Cory Aquino signaled that
her administration was ready to talk peace with the two major insurgent forces
including the Communist Party of the Philippines/New Peoples Army/National
Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF). With the government-CPP/NPA/NDF talks
breaking down and the situation rapidly polarizing, Deles says, We who fought
the dictatorship unarmed needed to intervene.
And so the Coalition for Peace (CfP) was born in 1987 to move the peace
process forward, eventually growing to over 50 organizations sworn to give
peace a chance. Deles served as CfP co-founder and main convenor. Among
others, the CfP helped in the public projection of peace zones, about a dozen
of which had developed in various parts of the country starting in 1988.

Cabinet women with Pres. Aquino

Dancing in the Cordillera



When Cory Aquino declared 1990-2000 as a Decade of Peace, civil society

responded with a lengthy consultation process culminating in a National
Peace Conference (NPC) with a national vision and agenda for peace.
With Fidel Ramos as President in 1992, the NPC became more structured,
Deles serving as NPC general secretary. It submitted a basic peace agenda
to the government.
Earlier the Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute (GZO-PI) was founded to
provide institutional support for peace work and serve as a resource and
training center. Indeed it served as secretariat for both CfP and NPC, with
Deles as GZO-PI executive director in its first decade. By covering all the
basesprocess, agenda and institutional supportthrough CfP, NPC and
GZO-PI all of which she headed, Deles manifested a thoroughness and singlemindedness that have marked her abiding commitment to peace.
March 2016

Social Reform Agenda

Ramos launched the Social Reform Agenda (SRA) in 1994 to be implemented

by a Social Reform Council (SRC) constituted by cabinet members and
department heads on the one hand and representatives of 17 marginalized
sectors and of NGO groups on the other. Deles served as sectoral NGO
Chaired by the President, the SRC met regularly to tackle priority reforms
and issues. scoring such gains as the passage of landmark legislation
including the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) and the Anti-Rape Law.
The SRA-SRC experience was Deles introduction to dealing with government
up close and personal and, later, facing up to the existential question
Should I stay, or should I go in terms of partnership with government
especially when the economic agenda of government was eroding SRAs
development agenda.

Meeting US President Barack


National Anti-Poverty Commission

Through all the ups and downs in Deles life and work, one stage has led
to the next. That is true of the late 90s when the Ramos administration
institutionalized the gains of the SRA process through legislation that
established the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), which, however,
incoming President Joseph Estrada used as cover for a grand dole-out
program. Estradas brief term sought to undo much of the reforms civil
society worked so hard for, in Deles words, subvert(ing) the peace agenda in
terms of the poverty program and the Mindanao war. Estrada had declared
a punitive all-out war against the MILF in 2000. In early 2001, after Estrada
was impeached, GMA took over the Presidency.

With Myanmar President Aung San

Suu Kyi

With former UN Secretary General

Kofi Annan

Call it poetic justice but GMA wanted Deles to become lead convenor
of the NAPC which civil society helped to create during Ramos term.
Although the NAPC under Estrada reeked of political patronageleaving
her with the monumental task of house-cleaning, restructuring and
healing of relationshipsDeles said yes in her first crossover act from
NGO to GO.
One lesson Deles carried from the Ramos period was that the governments
economic agenda should not work at cross purposes with its development
agenda. KALAHI became NAPCs anti-poverty policy agenda with its five
thrusts: asset reform, human development services, employment and
livelihood, social protection and security from violence, and participation
in governance. KALAHI consolidated at the community level government
flagship programs that included comprehensive social service delivery,
urban poor socialized housing, and IPRA implementation.
Moreover KALAHI became part of the Medium Term Philippine Development
Plan (MTPDP) (2001-2004), unprecedented for an anti-poverty program.
Deles made sure that the practice of top-level GO-NGO meetings under
Ramos would continue under GMA through regular NAPC en banc meetings
that included 14 sectoral representatives.
March 2016

With former Ireland President Mary


With Brad Pitt at the Global Summit

on Sexual Violence, London, 2014



Sec. Ging with husband Jojo and, from left, son-in-law Ronald Mendoza and daughters Paola, Laila and Karla.

One event in early 2003 revealed to Deles the resilience

of both the armed conflict and the militarist mindset
that breeds it. In violation of a government-Moro
Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) ceasefire agreement, the
military assaulted the MILF main stronghold at Camp
Buliok in Liguasan Marsh. The damage was incalculable:
over 41,000 persons displaced soon after the attack,
some 200 casualties including rebels, soldiers and
civilians, and the reported bombing of National Power
Corporation towers by the rebels. In spite of GMAs
pronouncements to quell the fighting, and the NAPCs
best efforts, evacueeslosing faith in the ceasefire
stayed away from their homes for nearly half a year.
Next stop: OPAPP

Buliok and Deles visits to conflict areas under KALAHI

pointed to her next stop in government, peace work
through the OPAPP. Succeeding two generals as peace
adviser, Deles was the first woman and the first civilian
to head OPAPP. Deles believes that no male president
would have gambled on her: It took a woman, even
an avowed non-feminist, to appoint another woman
to a male-dominated field. (GMA appointed a record
number of women to the cabinet including Dinky
Soliman, social welfare, and Emilia Boncodin, budget.)
Dj vu

Deles task at OPAPP brought her feelings of dj vu:

house-cleaning, reorganizing, making offices connect
with one another, creating vital policy and media units.
She did not want an OPAPP whose sole raison dtre
was peace talks: she wanted it to become a real peace


office with the capacity to bring the entire machinery

of government to work for peace (INCITEGov, 2008).
Key to this was crafting a peace plan that would
eventually constitute a separate chapter in the MTDPP
(2004-10), a reprise of what she had achieved earlier
at NAPC.
Although her first stint with OPAPP ran for barely
two years, Deles managed to set up peace corridors
with local stakeholders and victims of conflict and to
engage vibrant peace networks in Mindanao in seeking
to link the issues of development and peace on the
ground to make a difference in the lives of those
living on the margins. She also initiated the processes
that would lead to security sector reform. As well, she
reconceptualized peace making as constituting many
tables that buttress the formal negotiating table. With
the MILF peace process, this included cessation of
hostilities and rehabilitation and development.
Walkout with the Hyatt 10

By mid-2005 the question of staying or leaving (once

more) confronted Deles and fellow executives in
government, triggered by the revelation of massive
election fraud linked to GMA. With a compromised
President, Deles said, there was no credibility and
trustworthiness in the peace process. She and nine
colleagues resigned at a press conference in Hyatt
Hotel, and were dubbed the Hyatt 10.
The next step for the Hyatt 10 was articulated in a
provocative acronym: INCITEGov meaning International
Center for Innovation, Transformation, and Excellence
March 2016

in Governance. Fearing that the President would

sacrifice ongoing reforms for the politics of survival,
the Hyatt 10 founded INCITEGov not only to closely
monitor the reforms, but also to move them forward.
From mid-2006 Deles took the helm of INCITEGov
as managing trustee working full time. Among the
government reforms it has focused on are budget reform
(through a national budget monitoring program) and
security sector reform to ensure democratic control
of the armed forces. INCITEGov has also undertaken
training for civil society to understand government
processes, its constraints and possibilities. In a word
INCITEGov seeks to connect the dots between politics,
governance and development. Deles reports that as a
consequence partnerships between civil society and
government are more vibrant and innovative.
OPAPP, Part 2

Philippine politics is many things; it can also be

surreal. In 2010 it swept into the presidency Noynoy
Aquino, scion of the martyred Ninoy Aquino and the
revered Cory Aquino whose funeral cortge, a year
earlier, drew mourners in the tens of thousands.
Noynoy, now President Aquino, promptlycalled
Deles, and other members of Hyatt 10, back to
government service.
Deles second stint as chief peace adviser, and OPAPPs
activities, have been amply documented in past issues
of Kababaihan at Kapayapaan. Suffice it to say that there
have been halcyon times, and periods of grief and rage.
There are clear gains, but also deep losses.

Grandma Ging with only grandchild Miguelly

March 2016

BESTIES. Sec. Ging with Philippine Commission on

Women Chair Remmy Rikken

Now nearing the end of her second OPAPP term,

Deles seems to have already lived several lifetimes.
How does she do it?
Deles has a strong sense of self, who she is,
what she wants to do. This core bespeaks a deep
spirituality and faith, and also encompasses family.
Deles has said that marriage is love, certainly, but
it is also ideological, referring to shared beliefs
and values which extend to her three daughters,
now adults. Core also means fellow travellers: If
you choose another way, you have to build a core
to travel with, otherwise kakainin ka (you will be
eaten up).
Deles has a sense of balance: the dynamic interplay
between NGO and GO, her crossover (not once, but
twice) from one to the other; the difficulties,
contradictions even, inherent in the male and female
principles and how to steer clear of the shoals; and
the prose of everyday work, soldiering on even when
running on empty, keeping attuned to the poetry of
music and art and literature, feeding the soul even as
one must feed the body.
Often its a tight balancing act for Deles but her
instincts, sharpened by feminism and the peace
movement, have stood her in good stead. She has
survived, and sometimes flourished, in work that has
spanned nearly half a century. Now she is ready to
re-imagine herself, not dwelling on the things I
couldnt do, and promising I will be wiser.
Teresita Quintos Deles knows that few things in
this world can match up to vintage wine.



Undersecretary Luisito G. Montalbo

Its personal

Mindanao where he was able to

talk to some of the people after
the signing of the Memorandum of
Agreement on Ancestral Domain
(MOA-AD) was aborted.
I remember, I was talking to
someone, umiiyak siya sa akin (she
was crying to me). Because it was so
close, and they thought they would
finally get what they deserve and
that was taken away from them.
Such situations define how you see
the work. It characterizes the kind of
passion that you need to put into it.
This is how OPAPP Executive
Director Undersecretary Luisito
Montalbo, 52, describes his work for
peace. The peace process, he asserts,
is very close to his heart.
He says that it is important for a
person to understand the value
of his work on a personal level.
Mahirap kapag hindi nagkamukha sa
iyo ang trabaho mo. Sa akin, it has to
be personal (It is difficult when you
do not see value in the work that you
do. For me, it has to be personal). In
this kind of work, it is inevitable to
get personally involved.
Iyong mga kinakausap natin, may
mukha, may pangalan (The people
we talk to have faces and names).


Each time there is an outbreak and

the possibility of a spill-over, youre
fearful for them, for their safety.
You dont want bad things to happen
to these people. Nakasama mo,
nakilala mo, sinsero, mabubuting mga
tao, nagkataon lang naman that youre
on different sides, (You have been
with these people, youve gotten
to know them and found them to
be sincere, good people. It just so
happens that youre on different
sides). You also both dont want
war anymore.
He adds, Part of it being personal
is, I have realized that if war breaks
out, people that Ive gotten to know
will be in harms way.
He recalls an instance when he
visited a conflict-affected area in

Louie Montalbo assumed office

as executive director and
undersecretary for operations in
OPAPP in August 2010.
Pag-isipan mo

Working for the government, not

to mention the peace process,
however, is not something Montalbo
initially envisioned himself to
be doing. Prior to OPAPP, he had
no experience working in the
government, except for consultancy
work in government institutions.
He had just gotten involved with
peace work when Secretary Teresita
Quintos Deles tapped him to be
her consultant for organizational
development during her first term
as Presidential Adviser on the
Peace Process.
March 2016

A newbie in the sector who had

neither background nor expertise
in the workings of the peace
process, Montalbo was hesitant
when he was again invited by
Secretary Deles to join her in OPAPP
when she was appointed PAPP for
the second time in 2010.
Three times she offered and three
times he declined, adamant that he
was content in helping her in the
transition to the new administration.
He would have continued to
decline had it not been for a good
friend who chided him and became
his voice of reason, telling him,
Di mo sineseryosong pag-isipan.
Pag-isipan mo nang seryoso (Youre
not taking this seriously. Think
about it seriously).
Iyon ang mali ko. Seryoso kong
pinag-isipan. At dahil sa seryoso kong
pinag-isipan, umoo ako. (That was my
mistake. I thought about it
seriously. And because I thought
about seriously, I said yes),
he says in jest.
Adjusting to government work

It was new to me, and so it was

really a steep learning curve.
According to Montalbo, he had a
very trying first year as executive
director at OPAPP. Aside from the
fact that he was adjusting from
consultancies to actual work in
the government bureaucracy,
the very people in the agency he
was expected to run did not trust
him or any of the other newly
installed officials.
When we entered OPAPP, there
had been five PAPPs under former
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
When we came in, Annabelle
Abaya was the most recent PAPP,
March 2016

Usec. Montalbo at the launch of PAMANA projects in Tungawan,

Zamboanga Sibugay on February 24, 2012.

Montalbo says, recalling the

revolving door politics during the
previous administration and how
Abaya had uncovered corruption in
the agency during her term. There
was a lot of accusation of corruption
in OPAPP at the time.
He noted how the OPAPP employees
were wary of the new leadership,
expecting them to investigate
individual staff members. According
to him, it took two years before they
were able to gain some level of trust
from OPAPP employees. We were
seen as the conquering heroes out to
exact vengeance on anyone.
As executive director, he had to
make tough decisions that made
others view him negatively. After
over five years in the service, and
with the many changes he installed
in OPAPPs internal systems, Usec.
Montalbo is very much aware of how
his position has not made him very
popular with the staff and employees
under him. I know I am not the
most popular person here. Tanggap
ko naman iyon (I accept that). I knew
that when I accepted the job.
Asked what was the most difficult
decision he had to make as executive
director, Montalbo says without
hesitation, Letting people go.

Nothing can be more difficult than

that. Especially when the people
you have to ask to leave are those
who have been around for a long
time. For me, and I think as should
be the case of anyone who leads
an organization, that is the most
difficult part of the work. Everything
else pales in comparison.
Student activism

Louie Montalbo is the second of

the three children of Natividad
Gravador, a retired public school
teacher from Dumaguete and the late
Leonardo Montalbo, a retired Bureau
of Customs (BOC) employee from
Batangas. A graduate of the Notre
Dame of Greater Manila, a private
Catholic high school in Caloocan
City, he entered the University of the
Philippines (UP) in 1979, to take up
Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy.
At the time, UP was the prime
breeding ground for radical student
activism, with students rallying
against the martial law regime of
then President Ferdinand Marcos.
One of the most revolutionary
student organizations active at the
time was Kabataang Makabayan
(KM). For two years (1979 to 1980),
Montalbo would be actively involved
in the activities of the KM.


It was unheard of at the time to

be in UP and not be an activist.
Montalbo confessed that he
even contemplated going to the
mountains and joining the New
Peoples Army (NPA) until his
arrest in 1981.
On his third year in university, at
a rally with fellow KM members,
Montalbo was arrested and brought
to the Western Police District (WPD)
Headquarters in Manila while the
other demonstrators were brought
to Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan,
the incarceration camp for political
detainees at the time.
Una kong tawag sa nanay ko, sabi ko,
Sa kwarto ko, sa ilalim ng kama, ang
daming materyales na... subversive
materials, pakisunog lahat (The first
thing I told my mother when I rang
her was, in my room, under my
bed, are many subversive materials.
Please burn them).
At the time, uso pa ang salvaging
(extrajudicial executions were
rampant). My Mom stayed with me
at the WPD. I was with common
criminals. My Mom stayed the
entire night just to make sure that I
would not be picked up and brought
somewhere [to be killed].

He was detained for six days,

and released with the help of his
fathers connections. The other
protesters were less fortunate. It
took two months before they were
released. The experience convinced
him to find another way for him to
live out his activism.
For the next few years in college,
what I did was find a way to
redeem myself, Montalbo says. His
experience in jail was a wake-up call,
a realization that something bad
could actually happen to him and
how it would affect his parents. His
comrades from KM would continue to
persuade him to join their activities,
but his father was adamant that he
break off his connections with
the movement.
At a certain point, uuwi ako sa
bahay, sasabihin ng tatay ko sa akin,
Nakipagkita ka, ano? Pinapasundan ako
(I would come home, and my father
would say, you met up with someone,
no? He was having me followed).
I was under surveillance. My Dad
asked someone to trail me and find
out what I was doing in school.
Interesting times, to say the least.
After graduation from UP in 1983,
Montalbo took up Masters in Law in

Usec. Louie delivers a speech at the Sajahatra Cash-for-Work Program in

Polomolok, South Cotabato.



the same university for two years

before deciding that he did not
want to be a lawyer. Looking for
meaning in life, he decided to
join Days with the Lord, a Catholic
movement established in 1966
at the Ateneo de Manila High
School in Quezon City by a group
of young Jesuits.
That brought me to another path
of service. He entered the seminary
but after four years, he decided the
ministry was not for him.
The search continues

I was really trying to find out

what all this is for. What do I really
want to do? At a certain point,
the confirmation, internally and
externally, was not happening at
the level that I thought it should. I
wasnt happy. What I thought I could
find there, I wasnt finding. So I left.
Montalbo pursued a graduate degree
in Business Administration at the
Ateneo Graduate School of Business,
proceeding to consultancy work and
joining the faculty of the Ateneo
Graduate School of Business (AGSB).
He was a consultant of Secretary
Deles in 2003 during her first term
as PAPP. And when she resigned
in 2005 along with the Hyatt 10,
he went with her. When she was
reappointed by President Aquino, he
was persuaded to return to OPAPP
this time as undersecretary and
executive director.
But his true passion is teaching.
You should try it. There is a certain
satisfaction that you get. You will
see that there is a light bulb. You
see enlightenment in the students
faces, eyes, but they dont realize it.
Its priceless. And you hope that that
kind of enlightenment will somehow
March 2016

serve them for a long time, beyond

the time they spent in class.
If theres one thing I would go back
to after June 2016, its teaching.
Losing his father and finding

At 52, Usec. Montalbo is the proud

father to a three-year-old boy, Paolo
Jose Montalbo.
Three or four years before I got
Paolo, the desire to be a parent
was very strong. Then it died
down, Montalbo says, recalling
the circumstances surrounding his
adoption of Paolo.
He thought that was the end of
his desire to be a father until his
life partner told him about an
abandoned month-old baby being
put up for adoption. His partner
wanted to know if he wanted to see
the infant.
There had been previous attempts
to get him to look at abandoned
children. Ang problema (ko) pag
nakita ko, baka di na ako makaatras,
gusto ko nang iuwi (My problem was,
I feared that when I saw the child,
I wouldnt be able to back out. I
would want to bring it home). So
he refused to be coaxed into seeing
abandoned babies. Until this one.
For some reason, without thinking,
I said yes to this one. It was love at
first sight. The moment I saw him,
gusto ko nang iuwi (I wanted to bring
him home).
He called his friends, telling them
about the baby, saying he wanted to
bring him home right away. They
had to tell him to calm down and
follow the necessary process for
adoption. All my friends thought
March 2016

FATHER AND SON: Usec. Louie and Paolo

I was crazy, trying to adopt a baby

at my age. I was 50 years old then,
Usec. Montalbo says.
Initially, he didnt know how to tell
his 84-year-old mother about his
plan to adopt the baby. And when he
finally told her, she tried to dissuade
him from adopting the child,
telling him to just support the kids
upbringing and education.
Gusto mo bang makita (Do you want
to see him)? he asked her. She did,
and like her son, she was smitten the
moment she saw Paolo.
Usec. Montalbo believes that in
a cosmic sense a part of his dads
soul, who passed away a year before
he got Paolo, came back to him
through the baby.
I got Paolo a year after my Dad died.
Nung nagdesisyon ako, pumunta ako
kay Papa (When I made my decision,
I went to see my father). I remember
going to see my Dad, at Loyola
(Memorial Park).
He asked for his fathers intervention
in the process of adopting Paolo,
believing that it was his father who
brought Paolo to him. Now that

he himself is a father, Montalbo

understands the depth of the
relationship between parent
and child.
Now that I am raising Paolo,
because Im very physical
(affectionate) with him, I realized
that our body remembers all the
times our parents held us. It
becomes a part of our DNA, our
senses. And when that part is taken
away from us, our whole being
reacts. Because our contact with
our parents is very physical from
the moment we are born.
Parting words

Usec. Montalbo believes that taking

risks is part of growth. To OPAPP
employees, especially those who
have not been long in peace work,
he says:
Learn as much as you can. Never
be complacent or comfortable in
what you do. Youre lucky to be
exposed to this kind of work. Take
risks, especially while you are
young. If you dont, something gets
lost. The last thing you want to
do is stay in a job because you are
comfortable in it.



Undersecretary Maria Cleofe Gettie C. Sandoval

No secret ingredient

work with. If there was something

she learned from Kung Fu Panda, it is
that there is no secret ingredient.
There is no secret ingredient that
sustains Sandoval in her work;
there is only her dedication to
the causes she chooses. What she
brings to her work is her lifelong
experience defending human rights,
drafting policy that protects the
welfare of women, and working with
government and non-government
agencies in lobbying for legislation
on women and peace. There is no
secret sauce.
ACTION Plan for Women, Peace
and Security (NAP WPS) work,
Undersecretary Gettie Sandoval
drew not only on her experience as
teacher and human rights lawyer,
but also on the philosophy of Po and
the cast of Kung Fu Panda, of which
she is a fan.
In many ways, she was venturing
into uncharted territory. When
she took on the task of drawing


up the NAP WPS in 2010, she knew

that a lot needed to be done. If
the implementation of the plan
succeeded, it would have a farreaching impact on the lives of
women and children living in
conflict-affected areas all over
the Philippines.
Gettie was not about to let a
significant document on women and
peace get lost in a bureaucracy that
can be unwieldy and impossible to

Realizing the NAP WPS

It was civil society... that initiated

the consultation process on the
NAP WPS, says Sandoval, and its
gains need to be safeguarded for
future generations. When the
Philippine government adopted its
NAP WPS in 2010, the Philippines
became the first country in
Asia to come up with a national
policy following United Nations
Security Council Resolutions 1325
March 2016

and 1820 on women, peace and

security. Under the leadership
of OPAPP Secretary Teresita
Quintos Deles and Usec. Sandoval,
the NAP WPS has become the
backbone of the implementation
of the governments gender and
development policy across the
country. In a speech at the United
Nations headquarters in New York,
Deles recounted how the NAP was
designed to make a difference you
can feel on your skin.
We must ensure that the NAP we
have begun to weave will endure...
Its strands, emanating from
strategic programs of national and
local implementing agencies, must
be strengthened and enhanced in
both protecting and empowering
women toward bringing all
Philippine internal armed conflicts
to a peaceful, just, and lasting end,
Deles said.

son Paquito went to college in the

city. Gettie enrolled at the public
elementary school in Barangay
Masambong in Quezon City where
she became the schools top student.
For high school, she went to Siena
College of Quezon City.
She describes her childhood as
one of order. My family was
not authoritarian, but I did live a
life of discipline... As students,
our duty was to study. Walang
bulakbol (No playing hookey), that
was the first rule. The second rule
was that we must pray, and not just
on Sundays.
She recalls, Siena was a Dominican
school on Del Monte Avenue,
right across the film studios of FPJ
Productions. Our school used to
ask permission to use its basketball
court where wed see the brawny
actors and stuntmen who played
villains in FPJ action movies.

The Jesuit call to adventure

Maria Cleofe Gettie Catapang

Sandoval was born in Batangas
City in 1964 to lawyer Bienvenido
Sandoval and schoolteacher Juanita
Bautista Catapang.
Gettie is the fifth child in a brood
of six, which includes her brothers
Paquito and Ted, and her sisters
Irene, Sylvia and Rosette. Her
name Cleofe was taken from the
calendar of saints, while Gettie
was suggested by a cousin. I dont
know where she got the idea. I
just know that Gettie was Jose
Rizals nickname for his sweetheart
Gertrude Beckett, and Gettie
Becketts nickname for Rizal was
Pettie for Pepe.
The Sandoval family moved to
Metro Manila when the eldest
March 2016

Gettie thinks it must have been

at Siena where the seeds of social
consciousness were first planted
in her. The school would take its
students out to conduct outreach
projects. We went to poor
communities, we played with the
children. Nothing extraordinary...
Even around Siena, there were
urban poor communities. Wed go
there on Saturdays.
The Ateneo Economics Department
(where she went to college on
partial scholarship) was the belly of
the whale for Gettie. As a student,
she joined a number of protest
rallies after Senator Benigno Aquino
Jr. was assassinated. I never
experienced being tear- gassed,
though. The Jesuit priests and
seminarians always cordoned us
off, Gettie says.

When she graduated with a degree

in economics, Gettie could have
gone on to join the corporate
world as many of her classmates
did. But when the Jesuit Volunteer
Program (JVP) beckoned in 1985, she
jumped at the chance to become a
schoolteacher in the municipality of
Pinamalayan in Oriental Mindoro.
She remembers saying during her
interview for the JVP that she did
not want to teach math. Well, she
says, I was assigned to teach world
history... and business math.
It was her first time away from
home for an extended period and
it gave her a chance to think about
her future. I was expected by my
parents to go to law school but I was
having second thoughts.
Says Gettie, JVP gave me many
lessons and it was my first
awakening to who I was. I had a
community, my [teaching] partner,
and other Jesuit volunteers in
Mindoro to share the ups and
downs. It is an experience that I am
still processing, but it is one which
makes me smile, cry, and cringe up
to now.
Law school

She did go to law school at the

Ateneo. It was at this time,
according to a colleague, that Gettie,
a fan of PBA (Philippine Basketball
Association) games, would stand
at tricycle terminals munching
peanuts while watching the games
on a TV set in the sidewalk.
In 1990, while still a senior, she
began working at Saligan (Sentro
ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal or
Alternative Legal Assistance Center),
which offers legal assistance to
groups and individuals, with a focus


In 2001, she joined the National

Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC)
as director for sectoral policy where
she needed to build consensus
among various government
agencies. She describes her work
in NAPC: I talked to all of the
different agencies, made them
come together, identified issues
and worked on them, and made the
agencies come to an agreement.

Usec. Gettie at the opening of the training of the Cordillera Forum for
Peace and Development (formerly CPLA) integrees in Gamu, Isabela,
June 29, 2013.

on public interest law, promoting

legal rights for women, indigenous
peoples, the urban poor, the labor
sector, human rights groups and
environmental groups.
She spent 13 years in Saligan,
developing and implementing
programs, working mainly on
womens concerns.
She had many colorful adventures
litigating and mediating labor
disputes. In the course of my
work, we helped unions in
collecting bargaining negotiations.
We even joined them on the picket
line during union strikes, says
She taught medical jurisprudence
at the Ateneo de Manila School
of Medicine and Public Health
from 2009 to 2012. She became
associate director for operations
of the Leaders for Health Program
of the Ateneo Graduate School.
It was at this time that she met
Louie Montalbo, who was then
the Ateneo Graduate Schools
associate director for academics,


now undersecretary and executive

director at OPAPP.
Moving forward methodically

It was at the NAPC where she got

to work with Secretary Deles who
was then its lead convenor. Deles
and Sandoval were also together
as members of the womens group
Pilipina that drafted and lobbied
for the passage by Congress of the
Magna Carta of Women, which
sought to protect the rights of
Filipino women, particularly those
in the marginalized sectors.

When she first took on government

work, Gettie met with challenges
that she faced methodically. In
1998, when she was appointed
chief of staff of Abanse! Pinay
party list, she pushed for prowomen laws at the House of
Representatives. Although the
bills she worked on were not
passed during her year-long stint
with Abanse! Pinay, Gettie says,
Eventually, Anti-Violence
Against Women and the Children
and Anti-Trafficking [bills] would
become law. She and her team
also tried to infuse gender into
other bills, so part of the work was
to look at existing bills and see the
gender dimension.

Secretary Deles recruited Sandoval

to work at OPAPP in October 2010.
I was initially brought in as a
consultant to review the NAP WPS,
which was initiated by civil society
advocates... Sec. Ging (Deles) asked
me to take a look at it... I had to
review the NAP realistically and ask
whether government can deliver
what the document promised within
the set time frame.

She recalls, It was an interesting

experience, highly educational
because I got to see up close how
legislators work. It was helpful
when I did other legislative
work later.

The National Action Plan was a

real challenge. Here we were
talking to the whole bureaucracy
in all regions of the country, as
we focused on all the conflictaffected areas. We were given an X

Conceptualizing, initiating and

running a new program was not
new to Gettie. But if anything was
different with my work in the NAP
WPSand if there was anything
about it that would cause me to
hesitate or worryit was the scale.

March 2016

amount of time... and there had to

be some sort of output considering
the difficulties of working within
the bureaucracy (given both its
adaptability and limits).
A political sense

Gettie began working full time

at OPAPP in 2012, initially as
assistant secretary for policy,
and later as undersecretary for
programs. She is now tasked to
supervise the implementation of
Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan,
She also implements the
governments peace agreements
with the Cordillera Bodong
Administration-Cordillera Peoples
Liberation Army (CBA-CPLA)
and the Rebolusyonaryong
Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas/
Revolutionary Proletarian Army/
Alex Boncayao Brigade-Tabara
Paduano Group (RPMP/RPA/ABBTPG).
Currently, it is the implementation
of the negotiated peace agreement
with the CPLA that she finds
rather grueling. Were talking
to less than a thousand former
combatants, but Ive been working
on this agreement since it was
signed in 2011. She notes that
the dynamics among former
combatants and tribal elders are
complex and challenging.
You cannot just be a manager,
you cannot just be a supervisor,
she says of her work. You can
be as hands-on as you want, but
you have to have a political sense
in reading the dynamics of the
people involved, with some of
these dynamics informed by
traditional indigenous systems.
March 2016

Letting go

All her adult life, Gettie has

sought spiritual guidance from
her teachers and mentors. She has
been attending annual recollections
during Holy Week since she was
in senior high school. Every time
something is happening in my
life and I need to think about it, I
go to a silent place. Kailangan ko
tumahimik, magdasal, at mag-munimuni (I need to be silent, pray, and
Her schedule has been so hectic,
she has been forced to temporarily
stop going on her annual spiritual
retreats. Still, she finds the time to
meet with family, old friends, and
former mentors who serve as her
support system.
Even when everyday life seems to
be full of chaos, I can rely on my
friends to help me maintain my
sanity. Gettie says. Being with
them is how I keep my inner peace,
just as in Kung Fu Panda, Shifu found
inner peace after speaking with his
master Oogway.
She also finds time to care for
plants and look after her dog, of
which she is a reluctant owner.
My sister Rosette asked me to
get her a puppy. My sister stays
in Toronto, Canada, and she never
came home to pick it up. So the dog
stays with me.
And here she is applying another
lesson from Kung Fu Panda. Even
if her life seems to be one of
discipline, Gettie says she has
learned to let go of the illusion
of control.
Im now a reluctant surrogate dog
mother, says Sandoval. So you

give me something to do, you can be

sure that I will take it seriously. By
the way, the dogs name is Charlie
Brown. Because shes brown.
Gettie recounts that Charlie Brown
grew aggressive when she had her
puppies. Charlie gave birth alone
to eight puppies, two of which died.
She was distressed. When I came
home, she was already done. I could
not get near her. She grew angry
when people came to look at her.
She bit me twice.
She considered finding Charlie
Brown a new home and family. But
after a while, the dog went back to
her old sweet self so she decided
to keep her.
Gettie says that when her term at
OPAPP ends, there will be people
whom she will miss working with.
There are people Ive met who are
professional, good people.
For now, she has no clear postOPAPP plans. She says, My line is
development work. For now, I am
not inclined to go back to court, so I
need to find some other use for my
lawyering skills. I am not averse to
living in the province or in another
country. I need to think about [my
dog] Charlie Brown. One thing is
sure. Gettie will be bringing with
her many valuable insights from
working in government. I think it
will take me another lifetime to be
able to unravel all that these past
five years have brought to my life.
She recalls how it has taken her
years to process her time as a
Jesuit Volunteer, to realize that she
needed all that experience.
God will not give me useless days,
she says. Now I know. Lets see.



Undersecretary Jose I. Lorena

Keeping the faith


HOW DO YOU keep the faith with

the peace process? Undersecretary
for Programs for Bangsamoro Jose
Iribani Lorena who has had the
rare opportunity of working for both
the Moro National Liberation Front
(MNLF) and the government panels
on the Bangsamoro peace table
keeps the faith by looking back to
the thesis that all men [and women]
are good; and since they are good,
they also look for good in society.
Christian-Muslim roots

Joe Lorena was born in the island

municipality of Tapul, Sulu. His
grandfather, a teacher from Bicol,
was one of the first Christians to
arrive and permanently settle on
the island, having been a Thomasite.
His grandmother was a resident
belonging to the predominantlyMuslim Hui people from China, who
settled in the area, given its strategic
location and vibrant economy then,
especially the fishing industry.
Tapul was very peaceful; surrounded
by beautiful beaches. When the
Muslim-Hui arrived, they were
attracted by the beauty of the place
and the people there, he said. It was
a tolerant society the elders did not


require his grandparents to convert

to the others creed. Such respect
for freedom of religion became
a precedent for the succeeding
generations, who are a mixture of
Muslims and Christians by choice.
Joe studied in Sulu High School,
which was the only one in the
province at the time, graduating
valedictorian (Director Yusop Jake
Paraji of OPAPP PAMANA Mindanao
was salutatorian). That is why I got
Jake, he said.
His alma mater produced some of
the key actors across the spectrum

of the conflict in Mindanao, such

as Rear Admiral Romulo Espaldon,
MNLF leader Nur Misuari, former
Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Parouk
Hussin, and Abu Sayyaf commander
Umbra Dr. Abu Jumdail.
For many years now, Joe has served
as president of its alumni association.
He laughs, May alumni homecoming.
Sa MNLF, may nag-a-attend. Iyong iba,
hindi nakakapunta kasi baka hulihin
ni general (When there is an alumni
homecoming, there are attendees
even from the MNLF. But others
are not able to attend because they
March 2016

might be arrested by the general

in attendance).
Were it not for his mothers objection,
Joe would have studied in England
upon the invitation of his grand
uncle, who was then chair of the
United Sabah National Organization
(USNO). Instead, he was sent to study
closer to home in Manila.
At this point, the economy of Tapul
and the rest of Sulu were already
suffering from policies of the
Marcos regime that tightened the
free movement of peoples and goods
between the Sulu archipelago and
nearby territories. Nawalan na ng
livelihood, kaya iyong iba kumapit
na sa patalim (People lost their
livelihood, so there were those who
clung to the knifes edge).
The Jabidah Massacre (1968) and
the Burning of Jolo (1974) plunged
its peoples into decades of conflict.
Tapul became a center of conflict.
Di na nakabalik sa peace. Marami
ang di na nakapag-aral, namatay
ang parents nila (Tapul became a
center of conflict. It did not return
to peace anymore. Many were not
able to go to school. Their parents
were killed).

University of Santo Tomas (UST),

also as a university scholar. His
appetite for writing landed him a
column in The Varsitarian.
At the time, leftist groups were
actively recruiting young people
to fight against the excesses of the
Marcos regime and Usec. Joe joined
the Samahang Demokratiko ng
Kabataan (SDK) and participated in
the First Quarter Storm. With the
government crackdown on student
organizations, he left Manila for
Mindanao where he was eventually
captured and detained.
Iyong parents ko, may pagka-aktibista
rin. Di naman ako pinagalitan kasi may
freedom of choice naman kami (My
parents were also activists. I was
not scolded since they respected my
freedom of choice).
He had to stop pursuing his medical
studies after he was accidentally hit
with a bayonet in one eye during
ROTC training. Sinabihan ako ng
doctor na hindi na perfect ang vision
ko. I cannot be a surgeon. Wala akong
ginawa for one year kasi, wala, naghiheal (I was told by my doctor that my
vision would no longer be perfect. So
I could not be a surgeon. I did not do

anything for a year because my eye

was healing).
He finally earned his undergraduate
degree in economics in 1978 from
Ateneo de Zamboanga University
(ADZU) where he was also associate
editor of The Beacon, the official
student publication.
Usec. Joe spent the next few years
teaching econometrics at ADZU
and rising in the ranks in regional
government offices, such as the
Ministry of Public Information
Region IX, the Department of Interior
and Local GovernmentRegion
IX, and the Housing and Land Use
Regulatory Board (HLURB)Region IX.
An accidental law student

He pursued a Master of Arts degree

in Public Administration (MPA) at the
Western Mindanao State University
(WMSU). His thesis topic was on
political autonomy, which, at the
time, was not yet a mainstream topic
in political conversation. Since the
nature of the study would require
reading related laws, Joe realized
the necessity of being mentored by
a lawyer. So he went to his uncle,
who was a former fiscal and judge,

I think what drew the line

intentional or not was the
declaration of Martial Law. Usec.
Joe adds.
Student activism

In Manila, Usec. Joe intended to

study journalism as a university
scholar at the University of the
Philippines in Diliman. It was
the height of student activism
and ideological curiosity in the
university. But heeding his
mothers wish for him to become a
surgeon, he pursued pre-med at the
March 2016

Usec. Joe at the Tripartite Review of the implementation of the 1996 Final
Peace Agreement, January 26, 2016 in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



Usec. Joe meeting with senior MNLF leaders during the Zamboanga siege, September 2013.

hoping to be his mentee. But his

uncle refused to support him and his
graduate studies; instead, he offered
to sponsor Usec. Joes books and
expenses if he studied law. As
a compromise, Usec. Joe enrolled
at the WMSU College of Law while
he pursued his MPA, with the
end goal of getting just enough
background in related laws to help
him write his thesis, and collect his
allowance from his uncle.
To his surprise, he topped the law
entrance exams. Ang advantage ko
lang, voracious reader ako. NagbaBible reading nga ako sa UST (My only
advantage was that I am a voracious
reader. I even read the Bible when
I was still in UST), he claims, aside
from reading the four holy books of
Islam, among others.
On his second year in law school,
there was no turning back. Although
he had already withdrawn from
MPA studies, Usec. Joe was working
full time as head of the regions
HURB, and was a full-time husband
and father. Usec. Joe completed his
law studies, saying he survived law
school because of maturity, focus
and time management. After evening
class, he would take his dinner and


go to bed; wake up at three in the

morning to do a 30-minute workout,
then study until he had to go to work
at eight in the morning. After five in
the afternoon, he would go to school,
and the routine was repeated. Law
professors grilled him, although
very rarely, during class recitations,
despite his relatively high position in
government. When he was preparing
for the bar exams, he collected the
review materials in Manila and flew
back to Zamboanga where he did
self-review. He passed the bar and
took his oath as a lawyer in 1998.
The MNLF peace panel

In 1992, Usec. Joe received a

message from then President Fidel
V. Ramos whose government was
preparing to engage the MNLF in
peace negotiations. The President
wanted him to join the MNLF peace
panel because his knowledge of
government and economics, as well
as his network would be beneficial to
the peace talks. This was welcomed
by MNLF Chair Nur Misuari, his
town-mate in the island of Tapul, and
schoolmate at Sulu High School.
However, it was impractical for Usec.
Joe for two reasons: first, he had to

resign from his government post;

second, being marked as part of the
MNLF would destroy his career path.
In the end, however, he responded
to the call of duty to serve the peace
process in the capacity that suited
him best as chair of the Committee
on Economics of the MNLF peace
panel from 1992 to 1996.
Serving the ARMM

When the ARMM was established

following the gains of the GRPMNLF peace talks, Chair Misuari, as
regional governor, appointed Joe as
secretary. But he served only for
five days. I was an activist, so I was
opposing him. I resigned because of
conflict in principle, he explained.
The incident caused a crisis within
the MNLF, with many members
supporting Usec. Joe. Eventually, the
rift ended and months before the
year 2000, he was back in the ARMM
leadership as the regions concurrent
labor secretary and attorney general.
Many of the legal controversies he
handled as ARMMs attorney general
revolved around the relationship
between the central government
and the autonomous region such as
clarifying that the ARMMs police
March 2016

force is under and part of the

Philippine National Police; changing
the title solicitor general to
attorney general when referring
to the ARMM since there cannot
be two solicitors general in the
country; and clarifying the extent
of powers granted by law to the
ARMM with respect to the conduct
of regional elections.
Joining OPAPP

It was in 2006 when then

Presidential Adviser on the Peace
Process (PAPP) Jesus Dureza
recruited Usec. Joe as a consultant
at OPAPP. Under this arrangement,
he still had time to teach law and
economics in Zamboanga City. Later
on, he accepted other consultancies,
such as adviser to Executive
Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. on
counterterrorism, on which
he had trained in the US after the
9/11 attack.
In 2012, PAPP Teresita Quintos
Deles invited him to serve as
undersecretary for programs for
Bangsamoro, particularly to work
on the OIC-GPH-MNLF Tripartite
Review Process on the 1996 Final
Peace Agreement. Again, this
was impractical since he would
have to drop his teaching and his
consultancies but he heeded the call
to bring peace to the Bangsamoro,
which was his dream even as a young
boy in Tapul, Sulu.
Joe was a member of the technical
working group on power-sharing,
which helped shape the Annex
on Power-Sharing in the
Comprehensive Agreement on the
Bangsamoro signed in 2014. He was
also crucial as a resource person
during the siege of Zamboanga by
the MNLF in 2013, as well as the
legislative hearings on the proposed
March 2016

Bangsamoro Basic Law. My

hope is your generation, the next
generation, will no longer have to
tackle this, he sighs. Masyado nang
mahaba (It has been too protracted).
Caring nature

Being away from home and

having constant meetings even on
weekends have not prevented Joe
from keeping up with his family.
No matter how busy the day is, he
always finds time to give his four
children a call, and ensure that
he maintains the delicate balance
between mentoring and allowing
them the space to make their own
Aside from his official duties, Joe
looks after the well-being of his
staff. At a public consultation in
Iloilo in December 2014, he paid
for a room so the team from OPAPP
could rest before the event while
he chose to just rest on a chair. He
also encourages his employees to
go on vacation or work in a place
and manner that enhance their
productivity. He says this is his way
of paying forward the generosity
of his former bosses when he was a
young employee struggling to chart
his career path.
Develop the potential of your
staff to achieve the lifetime dreams
and visions of the individual, he
explained. If you do not help them
develop to assume a greater role in
society, they can end up being
a problem.
Because all men and women are

On the events and issues related

to the Bangsamoro peace process,
Usec. Joes responses normally refer
to his personal encounters and his

first-hand evaluation of the political

situation. Aside from his deep
personal link to the peace process,
he surmises that it is probably his
candor that has made the different
sides in this peace table seek
his advice.
Against this backdrop, and with the
challenges surrounding his work, he
remains firm in keeping the faith in
the peace process.
My hope is that the process will
continue, because all men and
women are good. Little by little,
consensus will be built. That is why
I am not losing hope in men and
women. God is peace, from God
comes peace, and all humanity is
mandated to walk the path of peace.
Looking forward

After almost 10 years of service in

OPAPP, and his accumulated decades
of service to the Bangsamoro peace
process, Usec. Joe is thinking of
retiring from government work.
He says he is starting to feel the
physical toll that comes with age.
After the end of the Aquino
administration in June, Usec. Joe
plans to start writing his memoir,
which he says is a duty, especially
towards the next generation who
must take on the task of building
peace. Mahirap iyong gaya naming
nakadaan sa lahat ng negotiations,
implementation, matatanda na.
(We who have been part of all the
negotiations and implementation are
old already).
He is also looking forward to
teaching law again, spending more
time with his family in the farm,
reading and reviewing his know-how
in statistics, and catching up with old
friends in alumni gatherings.



Assistant Secretary Jennifer Santiago Oreta

Praxis in practice


appointment as assistant secretary
for policy on January 13, 2013, at
OPAPP, Jennifer Santiago Oreta
has simply been known as Asec.
Apple. And at seminars, roundtable
discussions, and workshops where
she presides, one of her favorite
opening lines is, Lets drop our
titles. Im Apple. Her official
stationery has a PhD after her
name, but she gets uneasy when
she is addressed as Dr. Oreta,
except in a classroom or a purely
academic setting. To her staff who
have known her the longest, she
is just Boss Apple. But dont get
this wrong. Whenever she feels that
others are pushing their weight (or
titles) around, she doesnt hesitate to
invoke her awesome credentials.
On the 6th floor of the building are
several open doors, the first of which
leads to her office. There is neither
nameplate, nor title on the door. Her
door is actually open more often than
the pantry and the comfort room.
The only time her door is closed is
when she has an important meeting.
Her room is actually often used for
general assemblies of her unit, or
a holding room for guests. On the
meeting table is a jar of candies and a
box of facial tissue. Help yourself!


Asec. Apple has an open door

for practically everyone, but she
clearly has a soft spot for the most
vulnerable groups (MVGs). She
is most accommodating when her
guests are former rebels (FRs),
members of indigenous groups (IPs)
and others of similar circumstance,
including civil society organization
(CSO) partners.
This openness to the MVGs and CSOs
reflects her professional upbringing.
Prior to entering government, she
was immersed in the NGO-PO world
and the academe where she fully
intends to return when her current
appointment ends.

Street parliamentarian

She began her professional life at

the Social Development Index (or
INDEX), an NGO catering to the
marginalized sectors. Her first
official designation at INDEX was
advocacy officer of the Education
Reform Bloc (ERB), a network of
professionals pursuing reforms in
tertiary education. It was a posh title
for what was actually a one-woman
show on behalf of the network. She
did research and converted them
into policy recommendations which,
once approved by the leaders of
the group, she typed, photocopied,
delivered and lobbied for in Congress
March 2016

and at the Department of Education,

Culture and Sports (DepEd).
In that world, Asec. Apple developed
into a dyed-in-the-wool street
parliamentarian with strong opinions
on social and political issues, a trait
that first sprung when she was a
Political Science student at De La
Salle University (DLSU) from 1985
to 1988, and as a student volunteer
at its Social Action Office. Here, she
honed her skills in UF or united
front work. (The current colloquial
terms for UF are networking and
coalition building.)
She marched and shouted until her
voice became hoarse, for various
causes including agrarian reform,
the removal of the US military bases
and the Magna Carta for Students
Rights and Welfare. She laments that
recent rallies by moderate forces
seem to lack sting and their chants
lack rhythm.

the marginalized sectorswomen,

students and out-of-school youth,
labor, urban poor, farmers and
fisherfolk. It was in Pandayan
where Asec. Apple says she attained
ideological and political maturity.
In 1992, she was invited to be the
director of DLSUs Center for Social
Concern and Action (COSCA), an
organization she had volunteered for
in college. In COSCA, her foremost
mentors were the late Bro. Cecilio
Ceci Hojilla, FSC, who imbibed in
her and other volunteers the spirit
of service and compassion, a faith
that does justice, and the value of
reflection; and Bro. Benildo Feliciano,
FSC, who taught her the intricacies
of running an organization with
professionalism, respect and
integrity. These two Lasallian
Brothers made a lasting impression
on her and molded her professional
and spiritual values.
Matching skills with needs

After her stint at INDEX, Asec. Apple

got her first government job in 1990,
in the staff of Jose Luis Chito Gascon
who was Sectoral Representative
for the Youth at the House of
Representatives. Chito was in the first
batch of sectoral representatives,
who were then appointed by the
President. (It was part of a system
that was the precursor of the current
party list representation in Congress.)
This job, and a brief stint in the
office of Sen. Raul Roco, gave
Asec. Apple her baptism on the
difficulties in pursuing a reformist
agenda in a Congress dominated by
transactional politics.
In the midst of her political
engagements, she became an
active member of Pandayan para sa
Sosyalistang Pilipinas, a democratic
socialist coalition. Its members
come from a broad spectrum of
March 2016

As director of COSCA, Asec. Apple

pioneered the matching of the
respective colleges academic
discipline with the actual needs
of communities. For instance, the
DLSU-College of Engineering was
matched with a request for the
installation of a micro-hydro power
plant in remote communities in
Bangued, Abra.
Selected mechanical, electrical, and
civil engineering students together
with their teachers, carefully
planned a micro-hydropower plant
to service a Tingguian community in
Bangued. After five years, the plans
they made were used to produce
three micro-hydropower plants,
servicing three communities, each
with the capacity to dry palay and
corn during the rainy season, and
with enough power for a black-and-

white TV, an electric fan, and lowwattage computers. A cooperative

was organized for each of these
communities to maintain the project.
Another accomplishment of COSCA
was the institutionalization of the
16 hours required community service
with the marginalized sectors under
the Religion 4 subject of the Religious
Studies Department. The project was
a tall order from convincing the
university administrators to accept
the proposal, reviewing the Religion
subject to fit the 16-hour community
service requirement, preparing
communities to host an average
of 300 students per trimester,
and preparing the logistical
requirements. But her team was
able to pull it off.
In 2001, she joined the faculty of
the Ateneo de Manila University, a
necessary shift brought about by the
need to balance career and family life.
But she continued her CSO-volunteer
work, primarily in Pax ChristiPilipinas, the International Peace
Research Association Foundation,
and the Philippine Action Network to
Control Arms (PHILANCA).
She wrote numerous articles and
gave lectures on the importance
of reining in loose and unlicensed
firearms and advocating the passage
of laws on gun control. Her advocacy
work led to constant interaction with
officials from the Philippine National
Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP), which has served
her well in her work in OPAPP.
Student volunteer

During her student and NGO days,

Asec. Apple got her hands and
clothes dirty helping out in OD
or operation dikit where she
pasted protest fliers and posters on


Asec. Apple speaks at the inauguration of Lakbay para sa Kapayapaan sa EDSA, July 29, 2013.

various social issues on public walls.

As a student actively involved in
DLSU-COSCA, she was an energetic
volunteer at the offices cells on
fisherfolk and women, interacting
with the fisherfolk of Laguna Lake.
Congresswoman Arlene Kaka
Bag-ao, a partner in COSCA, was
(and still is) one of her closest
friends. Indeed, many of Asec.
Apples closest friends are from
COSCA and her NGO circles. Clearly,
her social objectives intertwine
with her socializing, establishing
her identity as a well-rounded and
highly integrated person.
Another of her identities which
she has steadfastly held on to is that
of a womens rights advocate. Since
her days as a student volunteer,
she has championed womens
rights and equality in her social and
professional involvements. At OPAPP,
particularly close to her heart are the
women former rebels who continue
their personal struggles even long
after they have left the movement.
She has chided, even castigated,
colleagues and subordinates who fail
to use gender-sensitive language in
their writing and oral discussions.
In the family, she believes in the


equality of spouses in rearing the

children, doing house chores and
errands, and providing for the family.
Asec. Apple is highly acclaimed for
her intellect, and as manager, for
being a consensus builder. She listens
to the inputs of every staff member
before making decisions on policies
concerning her unit. She trusts her
staff to produce the units mandated
outputs and intervenes only when
there are glaring missteps.
She is not one to withhold her
admiration for good staff work,
often exclaiming, Ang galing
ni Carla! or Ang galing ni Mic!
(referring to Carla Ravanes and Mic
Espinas, her direct assistants).
She may be a consensus builder
but she is firm when she makes a
decision and, unless one comes
up with a foolproof counter
argument, her word is final. Her
profuse praise for those who do
well takes a 180-degree turn when
she confronts subordinates whom
she feels are not giving 100% or who
get her instructions wrong. But
rarely does Asec. Apple verbally and
publicly berate her subordinates or
others who cross her. Inspired by

the example of the late Sec. Jesse

Robredo, she hardly raises her
voice even when angry. Most
often, she shows her displeasure
by dabbing submitted work with
remarks in red ink.
For all her professional
achievements, Asec. Apple is quick
to admit when she does not know
enough about a new task assigned to
her. When it is not within her area of
expertise, she depends on her staff to
provide inputs, especially those with
academic or professional training
on the matter, and decides on which
plan will best conform to the overall
OPAPP plan of action.
Both as a boss and as a person, she
is extremely generous, regularly
bringing pasalubong for the entire
office after a trip out of town,
whether personal or official. She also
shares a large chunk of her blessings
with victims of calamities and other
persons in need.
Asec. Apple is married to Dr.
Andy Oreta, a Professor of Civil
Engineering at DLSU. Among all the
jobs that keep her busy in a work day,
what keeps her sane is being a handson mother to their two children.
March 2016


Asssistant Secretary Danilo L. Encinas

In the service of five presidents



my province, Assistant Secretary
Danilo Encinas says when asked what
he would be doing if he decides to
retire after more than four decades in
government service. But even as he
talks about dabbling in agriculture,
one gets the impression that he does
not really want to leave government
altogether. Asec. Dan Encinas is
still focused on uplifting the lives of
others through government service.
Assistant Secretary Danilo L. Encinas
or Asec. Dan as he is known to
colleagues and staff at the Office of
the Presidential Adviser on the Peace
Process (OPAPP), has served five
presidents in various capacities,
from Corazon Aquino to Benigno S.
Aquino III.
He earned a degree in Economics
from San Beda College, Manila in
1974 after which he joined the
government or the first time as
a Senior Economic Development
Specialist at the National Economic
Development Authority (NEDA).
The call of People Power

Economics was not Dans first choice;

he was, in fact, enrolled in the
humanities at the Ateneo de Manila
University but he transferred to San
March 2016

Beda College in Manila, where he

obtained his degree in Economics.
In 1976, after working two years
at NEDA, he enrolled at the Ateneo
College of Law where he intended to
focus on family relations but did not
finish the course. Instead, he went
to Yale University where he earned
a diploma in Russian Studies. He
later obtained a doctorate in
Development Economics at Oxford
University in London. After attending
Oxford and Yale, he was offered a
teaching post in Cornell University
in New York. So, while waiting for
word from the World Banks Young
Economists Program where he had
applied, he was encouraged to teach.

Asec. Dan was a visiting lecturer at

Cornell University in 1987 when
President Cory Aquino dropped by to
give a lecture. He was part of a group
at Cornell that established a course
on the Cory administration which
was developed due to the interest
in the Philippines People Power
revolution. The course was launched
with President Cory in attendance
accompanied by the late Senator
Joker Arroyo, who happened to be
the Encinas family lawyer. Joker
asked Dan what he was doing
in New York when he could be
serving the government back home.
It was Arroyo who convinced
him to join the Cory administration
as a volunteer.


Government service is in Dans

blood. Both his grandfathers were
involved in politics. His father was
elected congressman, and he had an
uncle who was governor. Another
relative on his mothers side also
became a congressman. But what
motivated Dan to come back and
serve the government was the magic
of People Power.
At Cornell, he was proud to share
with the students how the Filipino
people stood up to a dictator on
principle. After People Power,
people abroad gave us Filipinos
special attention. They
congratulated us when they
learned we were Filipinos.
According to Dan, being Filipino
became a feather in his cap.
Joker Arroyo assigned him to
President Corys Presidential
Management Staff (PMS). Working
for the Cory administration was very
prestigious; most of the staff at PMS
were volunteers who came from
good families. When it was time for
President Cory to step down, seven
of the volunteers were introduced to
incoming President Fidel V. Ramos
who requested them to stay and
serve in his administration.

Early government work

Asec. Dans formal employment in

government began in 1992 at the
Presidential Management Staff
(PMS) of the Ramos administration.
President Ramos planned to
pursue the peace process and
created an interagency body,
known as the Technical Committee
for the Communist Party of the
Philippines/New Peoples Army/
National Democratic Front (CPP/
NPA/NDF) negotiating panel. To
ensure that the other government
agencies would follow the Panels
orders, President Ramos assigned
Dan, representing the Office of the
President, as head of the GPH Panels
Technical Committee.
At that time, the panel for CPP/
NPA/NDF talks headed by
Ambassador Howard Q. Dee,
reported directly to the President,
with the support of the Technical
Committee. The Technical
Committee created a sub-cabinet
committee specifically for the
peace process with the CPP/NPA/
NDF. Structurally, the panel could
summon the secretaries of the
different agencies and ask for the
support it needed.

Asec. Dan consolidates the peace constituency beyond the peace process
in Mulanay, Quezon.



When President Ramos term ended,

Dan continued to work for President
Joseph Ejercito Estrada, as part of
PMS. There came a time when he
wanted to quit due to issues he had
about practices that he could not
accept. But Ambassador Dee advised
against it. He told Dan to think about
the person who would possibly
replace him. Would that person do a
good job? Dan stayed on to protect
his post and the good work that had
already been accomplished.
In 1999, at the age of 44, Asec. Dan
was diagnosed with stage four
colon cancer. But this did not stop
him from continuing his work in
government, In fact, it inspired
him to go on, and he began to
think of it not only as a job but a
mission. After undergoing surgeries
and chemotherapy, he was under
observation for two to three years
before he was declared cancer-free.
Take two

He gradually returned to
government service during the
Arroyo administration. Aside from
heading of the Technical Committee
for the CPP/NPA/NDF talks, Dan was
appointed undersecretary at the
Department of Agrarian Reform to
assist then DAR Secretary Hernani
Braganza. In 2004, he decided to
run for Congress representing the
Second District of Sorsogon, thinking
that it might be his calling. He won
the ballot but not the position; his
opponent was somehow magically
proclaimed before the counting was
completed. But Dan did not bother
to pursue his case before the House
Electoral Tribunal.
After the debacle, he returned
to the academe. It was a
rejuvenating experience, Dan says.
When you teach, you are actually
March 2016

He believes that agriculture in the

Philippines has no other way to go
but to boom. Majority, if not all,
of the surplus labor in the country
is in agriculture. The agricultural
sector has to be developed in order
to provide jobs. Otherwise, the
countrys unemployment rate will
continue to rise.

Learning peace lessons at a PAMANA area in Mulanay, Quezon.

the one learning, especially since I

encouraged my students to discuss
and argue. In the academe, you
are in the loop of new ideas. It is a
good sanctuary, its not taxing or
In 2007, he returned to Malacaang
as undersecretary at the Office of
the Presidential Adviser for New
Government Centers. In 2008, Dan
was appointed undersecretary at the
Office of the Cabinet Secretary.
When President Benigno S.
Aquino assumed office in June
2010, Dan continued to head the
Technical Committee based in
OPAPP. In 2014, he was appointed
Assistant Secretary for Closure
Programs with the Cordillera
Bodong Administration-Cordillera
Peoples Liberation Army (CBACPLA) and the Rebolusyonaryong
Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas/
Revolutionary Proletarian Army/
Alex Boncayao Brigade-Tabara
Paduano Group (RPMP/RPA/ABBTPG) peace tables.
Serving five presidents

How has Asec. Dan managed to stay

in government service, serving five
March 2016

presidents with diverse personalities

and work styles? Aside from the
sense of belonging, his objective
has always been to assist in the
transition from one administration
to the next. If you find weaknesses
in the old administration, you try
to correct it in the next. The same
is true of good practices. You try
to transition them to the next
government. You try to input your
learnings in policy.
For Dan, work in the government
is good, especially since you
get to meet people who inspire
you, who are well meaning. He
cannot imagine working in the
private sector serving private
interests. When you work for the
government, you serve the people
and at the end of the day you are
happy because you have advanced
one good thing for the people.
When he retires to his farm in
Sorsogon, he intends to document
narratives on community-based
initiatives that could be used as
models for development, not
necessarily on peace, but more
on production of, for example,
coconuts. You document the process
and propagate the knowledge.

Dan eyes the youth as our countrys

biggest untapped resource. For him,
its a matter of knowing how to
handle the youth so their ideas may
bloom. He is dismayed that most
young men and women leave the
government disappointed.
The system eats them up. They
learn to accept that this is how the
government works. In the end, you
have a country that does not support
the government fully.
A laboratory for peace

Should his farming plans push

through, Dan will offer his farm as
a laboratory for bringing the peace
process to farmers. The NPA has
only about three thousand members
left. Why do we think that they are
still strong? Because the community
supports them. The community
supports them because they are
unemployed. If the community finds
an opportunity in their sector, they
will leave the NPA behind. I will open
my farm to the government.
Finally, he wants to thank the
OPAPP staff and Secretary Deles who
have contributed so much to the
organization and who will leave at the
end of this administration. I want to
thank them and tell them that they
are appreciated. They should be able
to move on and not feel that their
efforts have been wasted. I do not
want them to regret working for the
government and end up refusing to
offer more of their time and talent.



Assistant Secretary Howard B. Cafugauan

Straight path to development

and peace


Howard Cafugauan, fresh out from
college, left his hometown of Davao
City for Manila to experience
what life in the big city is about.
Later that year, he returned
home, responding to a call from a
classmate to work as an instructor
in a local computer school.
Asec H, as he is known to his staff,
is the Assistant Secretary (Asec.) for
Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan
(PAMANA) at the Office of the
Presidential Adviser on the Peace
Process (OPAPP).
The soft-spoken Davaweo, seen by
his colleagues as a hardworking and
committed government official, has
been with the agency for almost six
Nadia Nadz Lorena, Cafugauans
assistant, says that her boss is easy
to work with, someone who keeps
his cool even in the toughest of
situations. Outside of work, he is
rather private, but takes time to
socialize with his staff.


A tennis fan and a tech-enthusiast

with a sweet tooth, Asec. Howard
stresses the importance of
balancing work and play. We try
to balance naman kapag sobra minsan
iyong work. Kung may challenge sa
isang aspekto ng buhay (We try to
balance when the work becomes too
heavy. When there are challenges in
one aspect of your life) then youll
draw strength from other aspects of
your life.

Cafugauan traversed numerous

paths before working for OPAPP
under the current administration.
Growing up in Mindanao

Born in Iloilo City on September 5,

1967, Asec. Howard grew up at the
height of martial law era in the 1970s.
At an early age, he and his two older
siblings were taught evacuation
March 2016

protocols by their parents while they

lived in Cotabato City.
Dinidikitan daw kami ng papel na
nakalagay kung saan kami dapat
papunta, sino-sino dapat ang contact.
Tapos natutulog kami sa ground floor
kasi nga may putukan sa likod ng bahay
namin sa Cotabato. May tracer bullets
na makikita mo pero siyempre bata
ka pa noon, e, so wala ka masyadong
understanding sa nangyayari (They
would pin a piece of paper on our
clothes that said where we would
go, who we should contact. Then we
would sleep on the first floor because
there would be armed fighting
behind our house in Cotabato. The
bullets had tracers so we could
see but as a kid we didnt really
understand what was going on).
The city had checkpoints. Gunfire
at night were regular occurences.
He recalled telling his parents after
a trip to Cotabato City in the mid90s for work of seeing sandbagged
checkpoints on the bridge to the city.
He also shared that he and his
siblings left the city in the early
1970s in the middle of the school
year due to the peace and order
situation. Kailangan namin magsort of evacuate to Iloilo kasi tumaas
iyong tension and then bumalik kami
sa Mindanao. (We had to evacuate
to Iloilo when tensions rose, then
we went back to Mindanao). He
eventually finished his primary and
secondary education at the Ateneo
de Davao University (ADDU) in 1980
and 1984 respectively.
At the urging of his sister, Cafugauan
decided to ride the then emerging
information technology industry and
took up Management Engineering
course at ADDU, eventually finishing
with a Mathematics degree in 1988.
March 2016

Asec. Howard visits a project of the Agencia Espaola de Cooperacin

Internacional para el Desarrollo on Mainstreaming Peace and Development
in Local Governance Programs in Sorsogon.

It was during his high school and

undergraduate years when he
came to realize the state of the
country under martial law. ADDU
High School provided access to
information on what was happening
around the country. He also recalled
looking forward to the Mr. and Ms.
magazine special edition that came
out at this time.
I grew up at a time when mahirap
isipin iyong ano ang gagawin mo after
going to school. Pasalamat ka na lang
na maka-graduate ka ng college.
Basically ang sistema noon ay if you
dont work for the government, wala
kang papasukan unless mayroon kang
link sa private sector. Kung hindi
man, magfa-farmer ka. So ano iyong
options mo? Period na iyon (I grew
up at a time when you couldnt not
think of what work you can do after
going to school. You were grateful
you could graduate from college.
Basically, if you didnt work for
government, you had few options
unless you know someone in the
private sector or else do farming).
In college, Cafugauan had the
chance to actively join the senatorial
campaign for Butz Aquino in

1988. Together with friends, he

distributed and posted campaign
materials in a small Harabas
reaching as far as Davao del Sur and
North Cotabato. He recalled the
apprehension of his friends when
they reached North Cotabato.
Siguro nag-aalala na sila. Ako hindi
kasi lumaki ako doon. Parang noong
time na iyon lagi nilang sinasabi na
parang huy, uwi na tayo kasi gabi na
(They were probably concerned. I
was not because I grew up there. At
the time, they kept saying, Hey, lets
go home because its dark).
The path towards development

After finishing college, among the

first jobs Cafugauan had was at a
printing company followed and,
later, as a computer instructor
then a novel profession at a
computer school in Davao City.
Iyong period na iyon na hindi pa
marami talaga nag co-computer, parang
ahead of the curve ka, therefore iyon
iyong parang logical thing to do (At
the time, there were not many who
were using the computer, so I was
ahead of the curve. It seemed like the


would be working on a broader level

of development work the national
level. Iyon iyong parang nakaengganyo
sa akin (That was what attracted me).

Asec. Howard examines provisions for a medical mission in Basilan on

the second leg of the Peace Caravan, March 24, 2014.

logical thing to do). However, while

his classmates pursued careers in
information technology, he took on
work that focused on development.
Shifting from information
technology to development work
was not difficult. In 1990, Cafugauan
worked with BFAR Fisheries Sector
Program, initially as computer
operator in the planning unit then
as technical staff for the aquaculture
and credit components. He credits
his supervisors for allowing this
space for professional growth when
he asked to be given technical
assignments. I approached our head
and asked if there was something
else I can do. So I was given other
assignments. Basically, thats how I
started doing development work.
He was also able to work with
various government agencies and
the private sector and experienced
international cooperation work for
the Brunei Darussalam-IndonesiaMalaysia-Philippines East ASEAN
Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Working
Groups on Agro-Industry and
Fisheries Cooperation, which tried
to spur development in Mindanao
and Palawan. His work in the coastal


and fisheries sector continued with

the Coastal Resource Management
Project in 2003 and the Fisheries
Improved for Sustainable Harvest
(FISH) Project in 2006-2010.
Cafugauans work with OPAPP
started in 2003 during the earlier
term of Sec. Deles, upon the
invitation of Asec. Rose Romero who
was then chief of staff and whom
he worked with in the National
Anti-Poverty Commission. He
recalled that when Asec. Rose told
him that the work would focus on
development in Mindanao and his
task would be to look at economic
programs suitable for or including
Mindanao, Howard thought, I could
do that. He grabbed the opportunity
to be part of an organization that
catered to the needs of conflictaffected areas in the country.
As head of the official development
assistance and regional economic
development unit, he was determined
to provide social services to more
stakeholders, using his experience
in previous development jobs. With
his background doing development
work in Mindanao, he knew the area
and the conditions well. In OPAPP, he

Cafugauan again joined OPAPP in

2011 following the appointment
by President Benigno S. Aquino
III of Sec. Deles as PAPP. Asked
why he chose to go back to
OPAPP, Cafugauan said he saw
the commitment of the present
administration to the peace process
and the development to the country.
Cafugauan is now assigned to oversee
the implementation of PAMANA in
different conflict-affected areas in the
country. With almost two decades
of development work under his belt,
he says he has yet to get used to the
deferential treatment he receives
because of the position.
Sabihin nating iba na yong trato dahil
sa mayroon kang dalang posisyon.
Mayroon lang times na natatawa pa
rin ako (Lets just say that theres
a different treatment because of
the position that you carry in the
government. There are times that I
still find it amusing).
As his term reaches its last stretch,
Cafugauan hopes that, at the very
least, he made an impact on some
peoples lives. Because PAMANA
should serve as a complementary
track to the talks, I hope we
have helped the different peace
tables. Hopefully, we have helped
address the drivers of the conflict.
For now, he hopes to get some
rest after OPAPP, with the wish
that the country continues to
produce dedicated peace advocates
in order to achieve the unity that
the people deserve.
March 2016


Assistant Secretary Rosalie C. Romero

Making things better


OF COURSE, it would be nice to

be recognized for your hard work.
But I will also be very happy being in
the background knowing that I made
things better.
Inside an adjacent room to the
Secretarys office is a small glass
table for four, two armchairs in black
leather, and a lone seat in front of
her desk where Assistant Secretary
Rosalie Romero usually meets with
staff and colleagues, or when her
boss visits to talk.
The room is accessible through three
doors: the first directly connects to
the office of her boss, Secretary Ging
Deles (or PAPP, as in Presidential
Adviser on the Peace Process as she
is more often called); the second
faces the executive assistant to the
PAPP who is on duty; and the third
is for general admission, for OPAPP
executives, staff and whoever else
needs her attention.
Like the conductor of an orchestra,
Rose Romero (or Asec. Rose), the
PAPPs chief-of-staff and head of
the Communications Group, ensures
March 2016

that everything runs smoothly, if

possible, like clockwork.
Through her years in OPAPP, Rose
has earned a reputation of being
stern and fierce. But she shrugs, My
job here is to make things work.
I am not that sociable, she admits.
If they think Im mataray, totoo naman
iyon (intimidating, its true). If they
think mahigpit [ako], mahigpit talaga (If
they think I am strict, I really am).
But Im always fair. Needless to say,

she does not beat around the bush.

When it comes to the job, I am
really direct.
Tiger days

Not too many people realize that

the Rose the OPAPP knows today is
a tamer one. Candidly, she says that
2010 to 2012 were her tigre (tiger)
days. When I point out a mistake, I
just dont point it out. I also explain
why it is wrong so that, next time,
they wont repeat the mistake.


I see them studying their lessons,

or preparing for and taking their
exams, Rose recounts.

Asec. Rose receives instructions from the PAPP at the opening of the
formal talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF in Oslo, Norway, February 2011.

Rose was born in Angeles, Pampanga,

in 1975. Her father was a carpenter;
her mother, a dedicated homemaker.
Raising five daughters, her parents
were strict disciplinarians.
The matriarchal influence in the
Romero household was strong.
Rose, the youngest, would take
turns with her sisters Melissa,
Melinda, Cecil and Cristina helping
in the kitchen. The exercise paid
off because it made us all good
cooks, Rose recalls.
Says Rose, I love to cook because
I also love to eat. Friends and
colleagues say that she cooks the
most sumptuous prawns and crabs,
but Rose explains that her favorite
dish is pasta since its the easiest
to prepare.
Baking, however, was not her thing.
We were poor, so we didnt have
the means to bake. The most that we
could do was bake bibingka.
Rose is also known in the office for
her shoes. She says she inherited her
fascination with high heels from her
mother. She remembers walking in
her mothers shoes around the house
when she was young. While she
loves shoes, Rose says, I am a cheap
buyer. Most of the time, the shoes
she wears reflect her mood
for the day.


Its fate

Rose lived with her family in

Pampanga until she graduated from
high school. When it was time to
take the National College Entrance
Examination (NCEE), she was told:
Ilagay na iyong pinakamabigat na
course, pinakamagandang university
(put the best course, the most
prestigious university). She really
didnt think much of it when she
answered the NCEE form with Law for
the course, and the Ateneo de Manila
University for the school. A move that
she would later consider prophetic.
But after high school, her dreams
would have to wait. My familys
situation back then did not provide
the means for college. Instead, she
worked as a teacher at her cousins
preschool in Paraaque.
She taught three- to four-year-old
kids who all spoke good English.
Feeling ko mas natuto pa ako ng English
sa pagtuturo sa kanila kaysa noong
nasa grade school and high school ako.
(I felt that I learned more to speak
in English from teaching them
than I did in grade school and high
school), she jokes.
While I was teaching, I felt a very
strong desire to go back to school.
Sobrang inggit na inggit ako sa kanila
(I envied them a lot)whenever

So Rose started to apply to

universities for college UP, UST,
PUP, Ateneo. But she ended up
completing only one application
Ateneo. It was thanks to my
sister, Melinda, who persisted in the
application and submitted for me
my requirements because I was then
living and working in Paraaque. As
luck would have it, she received in
January, 1993, her acceptance letter
by the only university she applied to.
On her birthday, March 1, 1993,
Rose received a surprise gift a full
scholarship grant from the Ateneo
Ateneo literally changed my life,
and brought me where I am today. I
remember feeling awe and wonder
every time I entered the gates and
saw the blue eagle emblem. I was too
poor and intimidated to dream of
going to Ateneo, but its where fate
brought me.
In March, 1997, she donned the
blue toga of Ateneo and graduated
with a Bachelors degree in Legal
Management. Remembering her
NCEE form, it was prophetic indeed.
Rise quickly

A month after her graduation, Rose

landed her first job as an assistant
manager at a paper company. A
year after, she was recruited to
be the executive officer of a nongovernmental organization working
on climate change.
Two years after graduating
from college, Rose was already
implementing projects, convening
meetings with professionals much
older than her, and representing
March 2016

her organization and country in

international conventions. Rose said
that those were still her learning
years, I took leadership roles too
early. I made mistakes those days
and felt them too deeply. It was at
this time that she found the value
of mentors for young professionals
like her.
Humbled by her failures, she
made sure she learned from her
Meeting Sec. Ging

In 2001, Rose joined the Localization

Unit of NAPC, where she met Sec.
Ging, the agencys lead convenor,
for the first time. She was assigned
the KALAHI Rural and KALAHI in
Conflict-Affected Areas programs,
which served as the precursors of
the current KALAHI-CIDSS program
of the DSWD. During this time,
Rose would occasionally assist Sec.
Ging during field visits and KALAHI
Rose would take a break for two
months in 2002, for a short study in
the Netherlands. Upon her return
in July, she was asked to be Sec
Gings executive assistant to address
the latters need for someone with
technical capacity and skills. From
business to environment to poverty
reduction, Rose found herself
entering a new field peace.
She would continue working for and
learning from Sec. Ging on peace
through their stint in OPAPP, the
Hyatt 10 resignation, and then in
INCITEGov that Sec. Ging helped
Political work

In 2007, Rose was recruited to join

the team of then Senator Mar Roxas.
She started as his HEA in the Senate,
March 2016

then transferred to Roxas political

unit to manage sectoral groups such
as urban poor and labour groups,
etc., and later on undertook political
field work.

a lot of brain work. We have to

consider strategy, timing, audiences,
angle, even political impact. Our setup allowed us to manage or prevent
the crises we faced.

At the latter part of the campaign,

she was given the task of handling
the parallel sorties of Korina


Entering the field of politics made

Rose realize her aptitude for
strategy, tactics and relationship
management. She would learn about
political work and communications
on ground war and air war.
Rose says she learned much from
the senator himself. He is an avid
learner, so matututo ka rin dahil sa
Socratic Way niya.
When Sec. Ging rejoined the
government under the Aquino
administration in July 2010, Rose
returned to OPAPP as her chief-ofstaff and head of communications.
Communicating peace

Coming back to OPAPP, Rose

put into use what she learned in
communications from her campaign
stint combined with everything else
she had learned, and shaped her
team to what it is now.
Sec. Ging said that our work
is highly political, so she wants
a good comms. So I designed a
communications unit similar to
what we had in the campaign, and
hired new people. Pinakauna si Polly
(Cunanan) (I hired Polly Cunanan).
Rose explained that communicating
the peace process is challenging
because various parties are involved,
situations may be complex,
and messages must be nuanced
according to the audience. It takes

Every day is an exercise of shifting

gears for Rose, switching between
skill sets to handle matters in the
Comm Group and the Office of the
Secretary or OSEC that she also
supervises. Like with the former,
Rose shaped OSEC and installed
systems and processes for smooth
and almost seamless operations to
better serve the PAPP.
Rose admits that managing OSEC is
difficult in a different way. This unit
has a bigger universe of concerns
that are mostly management
operationsrelated. Rose explained
that the smallest and simplest
mistake can mean a disaster for
them if it makes their one and only
client dissatisfied. But we, both
of my teams, continue to evolve to
better serve through our crafts,
Rose adds, knowing that their
own little contributions from the
background will make peoples lives
After six years in OPAPP, Rose
would love to go back to school to
learn more and build her academic
credentials. But it depends, she
says. I hardly planned for any of
the past four decades. I see it as God
leading me to where Im supposed to
be. Well see where He will lead me
For now, she is content with what
she does. She draws strength from
the love of her family, of sisters,
nephews, nieces and her loyal
canine companion Mikee; and
friends for each day of trying to
make things better.




Are we talking to the right party?

Chair, GPH Negotiating Panel for Peace Negotiations with the CPP/NPA/NDF
from the youth/students, religious, teachers, national
bourgeoisie, media, peasants, workers, indigenous
peoples, artists, and the like. These sectors are
grouped under their own respective revolutionary
organizations, all of which are underground, and are
invariably headed or chaired by Communist Party
members. Standing out over and above the rest are the
CPP and the NPA.

Chair Alexander A. Padilla

AFTER ALMOST SIX YEARS into the negotiations

without moving closer to peace, one of the questions
that intrigues us is, Are we talking to the right party?


The CPP is the vanguard of the revolution around

which everything revolves. The New Peoples Army, as
the CPPs military arm, is tightly controlled by Party
cadres and political officers who indoctrinate and
enforce strict discipline.
Based on this structure, it is obvious that negotiations
with the NDF alone will never suffice.

The peace process began with the return of democracy

in 1986 when President Corazon Aquino, in a gesture of
genuine peace and reconciliation, ordered the release
of all political prisoners, including Jose Ma. Sison, the
supposed founder and head of the Communist Party of the
Philippines (CPP). Since then, we have been talking with
the National Democratic Front (NDF) for almost three
decades without seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

While it is clearly the role of the NDF to talk peace with

government and attempt to get as many concessions
(prisoner release, party list participation, etc.) as
possible, the CPP is on its own distinct track. From the
very beginning, its strategy has always been to use
the peace negotiations in order to spread communist
propaganda and to hasten the overthrow of government
through armed revolution. The official Party newspaper,
Ang Bayan has been very consistent in this regard.

The NDF is a coalition of national democratic forces

encompassing the entire gamut of Philippine society,

As of the moment, it has no intention of abandoning

armed struggle as it is resolutely committed to


March 2016

The key is to end all forms of violence, whether to

suppress dissent or as a means to topple government.
From the lessons taught us by many other armed
struggles in the world, the cycle of violence has a way
of perpetuating itself. It can never end in genuine peace
when hate, revenge, getting even, spite and discord are
bred and perpetuated.
Should the talks resume under the new administration,
what needs to be done?

An informal moment with NDFP Chief Negotiator Luis

Jalandoni and former Royal Norweigan Government
(RNG) Facilitator Ture Lundh.

overthrowing the government, regardless of the kind of

government in power.
It is not the alleged violations of agreements and
other misunderstandings that have led to the frequent
breakdown of talks in the past two decades. The
simple truth is that the CPP/NPA/NDF is not ready to
talk peace. It does not know how. It is only the NDF
that espouses the line that it is ready to negotiate a
genuine peace. So long as the CPP has not changed its
tune, it is hopeless to imagine that the NDF would act
independently of its mother organization. Unless this
paradigm changes, it will be more of the same in the
next administration.
Coming to terms with reality

Both sides, Government and the CPP/NPA/NDF should

come to terms with the reality that first, no matter
how small an insurgency has become, it will not be
defeated or obliterated through the use of a purely
military stratagem. Hence, the necessity to talk peace.
The CPP/NPA/NDF must also recognize the fact that
no matter how many times it says it is on the brink
of a strategic stalemate, it can never win a revolution
against the duly constituted civilian authority. The
sooner it recognizes this to be true, the sooner it will
see the necessity of conducting serious negotiations
with government to end one of the longest running
insurgencies in the world.
March 2016

First, government must set the agenda which must

be built on making the life of every Filipino better,
more prosperous. The negotiations must be more
participative, with stakeholders sitting in as observers
and consultants. It is arrogant for the Government and
the NDF panels to believe that they alone hold the key
to solving the basic and systemic ills of society. Without
such inclusion, peace will remain a pipe dream.
A wise person once said that doing the same thing over
and over again (regular track, four comprehensive
agreements, release of prisoners, safety and immunity
guarantees, etc.) with the same result (impasse,
procedural agreement signing, breakdowns, etc.), and
expecting a different outcome (Final Peace Agreement
and with peace, harmony, prosperity and freedom
prevailing) is a definition of INSANITY.
Despite the NDFs insistence on being the only channel
for negotiations, it is important to explore other avenues
for dialogue, whether multilateral or bilateral, national
in scope or limited to particular localities. The approach
to the peace negotiation must change diametrically from
the intractable framework agreed on in 1972.

Chair Padilla and former GPH panel member Pablito

Sanidad meet with NDFPs Jalandoni and Fidel





Patience is bitter,
but its fruit is sweet
Chair, GPH Negotiating Panel for Peace Negotiations with the MILF
our teams and all the other tireless peace advocates
and congressional allies who travelled with us in
this difficult journey of a thousand miles, we saw
the session days in Congress wither away, without a
Bangsamoro Basic Law in sight.
Still, there is much to be proud of in our hard-fought
struggle in the congressional arena. Hindi matatawaran
ang pagsisikap na pinamalas ng lahat: the President and
his office, civil society organizations in Mindanao and
elsewhere, the international community.
As early as July 2014, before the draft law was to be
submitted in Congress, the President in his State of the
Nation Address (SONA) appealed: We are currently
forging the proposal for the Bangsamoro Basic Law. We
ask for the Congress understanding regarding this. It is
important to scrutinize each provision we lay down. To
the best of our ability, we aim to advance a bill that is
fair, just, and acceptable to all.
In his July 2015 SONA, he again appealed: Now, I wish
to talk about legislation, which I hope will be passed
during the term of this Congress. The most important
of these: the Bangsamoro Basic Law. To those who
oppose this measure: I believe that it is incumbent
upon you to suggest more meaningful measures. If you
do not present an alternative, you are only making sure
that progress will never take root in Mindanao. Let me
ask you: How many more of our countrymen will have

to perish before everyone realizes that the broken

status quo of Muslim Mindanao must change?
From the start of the negotiations, the GPH Panel
engaged our legislators. From the 15th to the 16th
Congresses, from then Senate President Juan Ponce
Enrile to Senate President Franklin Drilon, we reported
to them, and their concerned Committees, and sought
their advice. Several legislators, moreover, observed
the talks in Kuala Lumpur. A good number also joined
exposure trips in Spain and the UK.
With the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement
on the Bangsamoro (CAB), we further saw the honest
and faith-full endeavor to meaningfully engage the
legislature not by paid lobby groups, but the people
themselves to whom the law mattered, accompanied by
their sympathizers.
The legislative will

As the law entered the legislative mill, MILF leaders

in the Bangsamoro Transition Committee (BTC)
knocked on the doors of senators in their offices
to seek understanding. They appeared before
congressional hearings, giving a face to the
movement that has now effectively entered the
terrain of legislative lobby (and even congressional
investigations), that is lodged in this other supposedly
democratic and representative institution by which the
peoples will can see fruition.

Opening Remarks at the Special Meeting of the GPH and MILF Negotiating Panels, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 10, 2016


March 2016

From the battlefields in Mindanao and the Sulu

archipelago to the Philippine Congress in Metro
Manila it was a huge leap in mindset and formative
socialization of the bearers of Bangsamoro aspirations
who trace their descent in the long tradition of armed
resistance fought on land and water against the Spanish
and American colonial regimes.
The almost daily congressional deliberations also
significantly distinguished itself from the process
that earlier produced Republic Act 9054. At that time,
the legislative process was, unwittingly, abandoned
to take its own course. I know this because I followed
the crafting of RA 9054 as part of the study we did
at the University of the Philippines assessing the
implementation of the 1996 GRP-MNLF Final Peace
Agreement. In contrast, the legislative process for the
draft Bangsamoro Basic Law was pushed to the max
by the primary advocates themselves.
Of the 40 or so amendments introduced by House Bill
5811, the BTC lobbied for the retention of 28 provisions.
These numbers alone show that it is not true that
the proponents would not allow any change in the
original draft. Besides, any lawmaker can still introduce
amendments during the next round of legislative
wrestling. But commentators resented this attempt
to reinstate some important provisions. Shouldnt a
revolutionary movement acting as a congressional
lobby group in fact be welcomed? The passage of other
controversial laws like the Reproductive Health Law
and the Sin Tax Law were accompanied by the same
pushing and steadfastness by lobbyists to preserve
important provisions but their proponents were treated
with much less antipathy than the BBL advocates.

Many reasons and theories have been given as to why

the legislative calendar ended without the desired
outcome. Luwarans editorial cited four reasons.
Editorial cartoons tried to capture our thousand sighs
in one freeze frame. I will no longer delve much into
this, as the interplay of actors and action-reaction
has been complex, and would require some distance
to fully comprehend.
And so it happened that while the MILF endeavored to
exhaust the legislative process, the 16th Congress
simply defaulted.
I remember how Mr. Iqbal once described their situation.
We have one foot inside the door, one foot outside. Help
us drag the other foot in, he said. We are relieved that we
still have that one foot inside the door. But what Congress
(not all the members, but as a collective entity) did was
to shut out the other foot, as if saying: Diyan muna kayo.
Huwag niyo kaming madaliin. (Stay there. Dont rush us.)
Our legislative bout was a fight well fought. We lost
several rounds but each time the peace advocates stood
up together to continue the fight. Not for any prize
money or fame, but for the just share of the fruits of
freedom and democracy for the Bangsamoro.
No perfect agreement

My good counterpart, the wise Mr. Mohager Iqbal,

also said once: There is no perfect agreement. I
hasten to add, There are no perfect parties to an
agreement, and no perfect bills or laws either.
With humility, we accept the weaknesses and
imperfections of our efforts.
We held hundreds of consultations, but apparently we
need to do thousands more. We strained to straighten
out the misinformation again and again. We still need
to do even more.
We nurtured our ceasefire and were confident in the
utility of our protocols. But we saw how a major lapse
in protocol had unleashed deadly, almost knee-jerk
instincts. Therefore, we must continue to tame our old
ways and change the mindset of the weapon bearers on
both sides of the fence.

GPH Chair Ferrer and MILF Chair Mohagher Iqbal:

Defending the BBL

March 2016

From an angry, tight-knit organization, the MILF has

increasingly opened up to the other segments of society


Historic signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in Malacaang, March 27, 2014.

the other indigenous peoples, the non-Moros, other

political forces. The MILF today is a confident MILF,
not a besieged closed organization. It is aware of the
need for inclusivity. It is a pragmatic organization that
carefully balances its idealism with realism. It enjoys
the trust and respect of many people in civil society
and government who have worked closely with their
members. It has chosen peace.

is ours. We shall prevail if we dont give up now. How

many times in the past did events play out to push us
almost to the brink of giving up? But precisely because
we persevered, we have reached this far in the process.

Still, of course, many difficulties remain. Many

people do not yet see the difference between one
Moro group and another, believing that because
they live side by side, they are all alike. Nobody
would make that conclusion about Quezon City,
where I live, among drug syndicates, carnappers,
rapists, corrupt government officials, and petty
thieves. Many do not see that the mistake of one
need not embody the whole organization, nor the
whole tribe, nor the whole religion and its faithful,
for that matter.

Similarly, the Tagalog say: Ang sino mang may tiyaga,

may palayok na linaga. (S/he who has patience, gets to
enjoy the pot of boiled meat.)

For all these reasons, much remains to be done to

build and nurture public trust through dialogue.
Since all our efforts have not been enough, we
should do more. We should listen more, engage
more. This cause is ours, and so the main burden


Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet is a proverb

found in many Philippine languages. In Bicolano: An
paciencia mapait, alangad an bunga mahamis.

Net positive points

As for the sum total of where we are now, we have

definitely gained. We have scored net positive points.
We have made life better for the people in the periods
of sustained ceasefire, and through the many capacity
development programs and socio-economic activities
that have flourished.
Our efforts have inspired similarly troubled countries.
Our peace infrastructure is serving as a model. Our
peace process has the respect and support of the
international community, and the envy of those
struggling for and seeking their own peace accords.
March 2016

Many of those who were 10 to 14 years old when we

started out in 2010 are now about to enter the cusp of
adulthood with a stronger sense of the value of life and
human dignity. Instead of learning the ropes of warfare,
they experienced relative peace. Like most children
used to a hard life, they have solid dreams for a better
future for their families.
We wish these children to continue to acquire the
needed skills to wage peace through the rough-andtumble of open and democratic politics. In promoting
these non-violent and democratic values to the next
generation, we have already won the peace. These
children of today would be more adept and more
upright to the ways of non-violence to attain justice
and democracy when their time to lead comes.
Ultimately, our efforts would bring about the needed
social and political change, and heal the gaping wound
of disunity and misunderstanding among Filipinos.
It is incumbent upon us who have chosen to reject war
as the means to do politics, and who commit to the
path of peace and democracy, to rally together to make
Philippine democracy work for those who have been at
the periphery of the nations politics. Our armor: a good
deal of patience and the perseverance that gives us the
moral courage to stay the course.
The Tausugs say: Isiyu in matugul siya in makagulgul.
(S/he who has the patience and perseveres will achieve
the things s/he desires.)
The Warays say: An gahom kanan nagitkos. (Power is for
him or her who perseveres,.)

Signing of the annexes to the Framework Agreement

on the Bangsamoro, Kuala Lumpur, January 25, 2014.

change? What to expect? Who would be the champions

for peace and the Bangsamoro?
We will have a better reading of the prospects and the
best tack after the election and the incoming legislators
have been determined. In the Senate, we generally
foresee a majority who will be supportive of a good BBL
being obtained. This estimate is based on those who
would stay, those who are rating well in surveys and,
moreover, the fact that several of the contrary ones
would no longer be around.
The House probably remains the bigger challenge given
these figures: almost half are re-electionists with a good
number running unopposed, others are relatives of
incumbents, and the rest new entrants or comebacks.
While the next President may have less of the leverages
traditionally wielded by the chief executive, precisely
because of the reforms that have been instituted in the
budget system and the illegalization of the PDAF, s/he
will enjoy a honeymoon period and will harvest many
of the turncoats and can therefore heavily influence the
movements in the House.

The most viable roadmap

The CAB remains our most viable road map, the source
of the substance of the policies and legislation that we
will continue to pursue under the next administration
and the 17th Congress.
The next administration would be foolhardy to wage
war, and have everything to gain by upholding this
pathway. It will have enough time to see both the CAB
and a CAB-compliant law realized.
As for the best legislative tack in the next Congress,
several questions are relevant: Would it simply entail
a refiling of a BBB (Bangsamoro Basic Bill)? Which
version? Are the prospects ripe for constitutional
March 2016

In due time, decisions would have to be made, risks taken.

But we have shown that we are not averse to risks. How
else did we get this far?
The only genuine kind of dignity is one that is not
diminished by the indifference of others, said Dag
Hammarskjld, the second secretary general of the
United Nations.
We have met with adversity. We have cried out
against the indifference. But the integrity of the CAB
remains, and the dignity of those who have persevered
is not diminished.



Office of the Secretary

1st row: Susan Mogao, Vanessa Maynard, Sec. Teresita Quintos Deles, Janine Nicole Liao, Karen Domingo. 2nd row:
Jerry Bareng, Soledad Baccay, Marissa Salazar, Marife Abarientos, Elizabeth Buctot, Dir. Aubrey Gail Mallari, Clarissa
Batac, Irma Fugaban, Afril Apolinar, Hauvre Somova, Rowena Ignacio. 3rd row: Rafaelito de Guzman, Antonio
Alaurin, Rodolfo Dizon, Marcial Balde, Leonides Dizon, Jonathan Concepcion.

THE Secretary is to live and breathe
Ging Deles. From the mundane to
the top secret, we accompany the
Secretary and try to stay steps ahead
to address her daily administrative,
technical and operational needs. Our
role is to make the Secretarys work
easier by providing an organized
support system so she can fulfill
her daily tasks as the Presidential
Adviser on the Peace Process (PAPP).
And we simply cannot succeed in
this line of work if we do not fully
know the person we work for and
the things she works for.
As we always say, we are


For the most part, we work behind

the scenes. We are her events
organizers, caterers, paperpushers, writers, runners, drivers,
accountants and record keepers.
We do the little things that make
bigger, greater ones possible. Hav
and Aubrey set up her meetings,
social activities, and process her
invitations. Kai and Vanna review
her documents and draft her letters,
while Renz keeps track of her
documents and Joshua drafts her
messages and some speeches. Raffy,
Chris, Boy, Tony, Richard and Leonie
with her security detail the two
Sols, Aba, and Ato make sure that
she arrives at her destinations safe
and sound. Clai and Ai ensure that

there are funds for the activities

we need to do. Of course, Manang
Beth and Marissa, with the help
of Jonathan and Jerry, ensure that
she has a clean and fresh working
environment, and that she eats well.
And the executive assistants, Susan
and Nikki, accompany her wherever
she goes. We do all these and more!
We are the hub that connects the
PAPP to all units of the agency
and other agencies, organizations,
and personalities. For this, we
are her sponge, loudspeakers and
dragon harassers. We coordinate
with the units and executives to
relay instructions, agreements and
missives; and we work with them
March 2016

to ensure that these are carried

out to the Secretarys satisfaction.
And when there are failures to
meet deadlines or expectations,
we absorb the heat first, and
blow out steam after. But to get
things done, we turn up the heat
on others and often sic Kai or Susan
on them. We send the velvet gloves
of Vanna, Aubrey, Nikki, Weng and
Marissa when necessary. But when
all else fails, we call in Asec. Rose,
the Mother Dragon.
The work of OSEC is, more often
than not, difficult and challenging,
but always exciting. There are quiet
moments, but it is never dull. It
mirrors the pace and intensity of
the work of the PAPP in overseeing
the countrys comprehensive
peace process towards the goal of
achieving a just and lasting peace.
Through the highs and lows of
the processes she holds, we are
constantly inspired by her passion
and commitment, and strive to go
beyond ourselves in keeping the
faith, as she does.
As majority women ourselves in
the unit, we are proud of what our
boss has accomplished to ensure
that women are given a greater role
in preventing or resolving armed
conflict. She has opened the doors

Sec. Teresita Quintos Deles

wider so that at some time in the

future, maybe the young women
in the unit will themselves take on
these greater roles. This is not farfetched since OSEC has become
a training ground for learning not
just about peace and the peace
process, but equally important,
the skills, style, creativity,
professionalism and ethics that
we learn from the boss herself.
Yes, we are PAPP-centric.
Her joys are our joys, her sorrows
our sorrows. Her triumphs are our
triumphs. We take pride in her

Asec. Rose Romero

accomplishments, and we give

her comfort food when things
dont go the way she knows they
should. We are at our happiest
when she is happy.
We have learned from the Secretary
that the peace process is not the
surest thing. Much remains uncertain
in the coming months, but what we
are sure of is this: we at OSEC will
always be behind our beloved Sec.
Ging, supporting and defending her,
making her work of peace a little
easier, a little smoother, one day at
a time, one task at a time. - Rosalie

Party time. Asec. Rose Romero, Vanessa Maynard, Dir. Aubrey Mallari, Karen Domingo, Janine Nicole Liao and
Marc Siapno celebrate with Sec. Ging on her birthday.

March 2016




Panel Secretariat for


1st row: Farrah Grace Naparan, Dir. Wendell Orbeso, Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Juliet Parungao, Dir. Iona Gracia
Jalijali, Lorraine Cortez, Olivia Ramos, Liza Mae Batuyong, Airiz Jessia Mia Parrilla. 2nd row: Mark Sherwin Bayanito,
Al-Bari Macalawan, Jennifer Marie Tiu, Girlie Mario, Hassan Aburajak, Joanna Paula Lorico, Rodalyn dela Cruz,
Rosaida Javier, Rolando Abillada, Leonardo Olazo, Atty. Anna Tarhata Basman. Not in photo: Atty. Sittie Amirah
Pendatun, Atty. Mohammad Al-Amin Julkipli, Atty. Armi Beatriz Bayot, Dir. Susan Guadalupe Marcaida, Leila Halud,
Ma. Leonor Sevilla, Ailene Dizon, Ana Liza Caguimbal, May Ruzol, Marife Infante, Jorito Ancheta, Noel Sexon,
and Noel Sta. Clara and Dir. Carlos Sol Jr., Secretariat for the GPH-Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of
Hostilities (GPH-CCCH) and GPH-Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (GPH-AHJAG).

PEACE Negotiating Panel for Talks
with the Moro Islamic Liberation
Front (GPNP-MILF), we conduct
negotiations with the MILF and
undertake inclusive consultations
with stakeholders.
Since 2010, we have held over 800
consultations around the country
and 24 rounds of exploratory talks
in Kuala Lumpur. These resulted


in the crafting of the historic

Comprehensive Agreement on the
Bangsamoro (CAB), signed by the
Parties on March 27, 2014. A product
of 17 years of negotiations, the CAB
embodies a comprehensive political
solution to address the decades-old
armed conflict with the MILF.
The CAB is our proudest
achievement, but it is only half of
the work that needs to be done.

Crucial to the CAB is the enactment

of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL),
which is designed to create the
Bangsamoro political entity in
Mindanao. With the BBL stalled in
Congress after the Mamasapano
incident, the resolve of the Panel
and the staff to pursue peace has
grown stronger.
The ceasefire and the normalization
process have allowed conflictMarch 2016

Dir. Susana Guadalupe Marcaida,

Joint Normalization Committee

affected communities to return to

conditions where they can pursue
livelihoods and participate in
political processes. They are essential
to the full implementation the
CAB. For this, the office has grown
to include the GPH Secretariat of
the Joint Normalization Committee
(JNC), the Socio-Economic Unit, the
Combined Secretariat for the GPH
Coordinating Committee on the
Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and
the GPH Ad Hoc Joint Action Group
(AHJAG), and the Cotabato Office.

Dir. Wendell Orbeso, OPAPP

Cotabato Office

of skirmishes between the GPH and

the MILF significantly decreased,
from 218 in 2008, down to zero from
2012 to 2014. When the ceasefire was
broken in Mamasapano in 2015, the
importance of coordination between
government forces and the MILF
in the conduct of law enforcement
operations was highlighted.
In June 2015, the ceremonial
turnover of MILF weapons
and decommissioning of 145

MILF combatants were held in

Maguindanao. Socio-economic
programs were launched to help
combatants become productive
members of society. In December
2015, the Transitional Justice and
Reconciliation Commission (TJRC)
submitted its final report to the
Panels, and there is ongoing work
towards the operationalization of
its recommendations.

We continue to respond to the call
of the Constitution for meaningful
autonomy in the region. The CAB
admonishes the GPH and the MILF
to adhere to their commitment
towards peace through democratic
processes and reforms. The CAB
includes transitional justice and
reconciliation measures to address
historical injustices and bring about
national unity and harmony.
We need to ensure that the
infrastructure for implementing
the CAB is functional so that the
next administration will be in
a good position to push forward
the full implementation of
the agreement. - Mark Sherwin

The work of the JNC and other

bodies such as the Independent
Decommissioning Body (IDB) and
the Task Force for Decommissioned
Combatants and their Communities
(TFDCC) and the Joint Task Forces for
Camps Transformation (JTFCT), with
the support of the Cotabato Office
and the Socio-Economic Unit, aims
to facilitate peaceful and productive
The CCCH, AHJAG, and the
International Monitoring Team
(IMT) are mechanisms mandated to
ensure that the GPH-MILF ceasefire
is upheld. Since 2010, the number
March 2016

Dir. Hadzer Birowa, Sajahatra/

Socio-Economic Unit

Dir. Iona Gracia Jalijali, GPNPMILF Secretariat




Panel Secretariat for


GPH-C/N/N and GPH-MC Secretariats: 1st Row: Elmor D. Dulay, Celso J. Roque, Rosalyn B. Lachica, Fe OaingDoromal, Dir. Maria Carla Munsayac-Villarta, , Lisa C. Bernales, Xyl D. Aguilar, Editha T. Wayas. 2nd Row: Linda N.
Caete, Johanna Kiamzon-Naga, Jenivive N. Cruz, Oscar B. Bathan, Cesar M. Mamangconi and Jose D. Andres. Not
in photo: Celine Mendoza.


draws its mandate from Executive
Order No. 3 (series of 2001)
which is to provide technical and
administrative support to the GPH
Panel for talks with the CPP/NPA/
NDF. It sounds simple, but it is really
daunting work.
The work of the Panel Secretariat
covers the entire gamut of tasks
involving CSW (completed staff
work) needed to literally dress up
the GPH Panel for its challenging
task as peace negotiators and
peace advocates.


We draft confidential technical

reports such as negotiating
agreements, frameworks, strategy
papers, road maps, issue papers,
memoranda for the President and
others, and provide day-to-day
administrative support such as
arranging meetings/activities,
reproducing/collating documents,
packaging agenda kits, making
airline and hotel reservations,
ordering hot meals, and other
mundane but necessary chores.
In doing these tasks, we coordinate
closely with concerned units of

OPAPP and the GPH Monitoring

Committee (GPH MC) Secretariat
(created under Executive Order
404, series of 2004) for technical
support on matters pertaining to
human rights and International
Humanitarian Law.
There is no task too big or too
small for the secretariat, as each
is essential to support the panels
work. We are proud to say that we
perform each task wholeheartedly
and efficiently in the spirit of love,
peace, unity, teamwork and
shared responsibility.
March 2016

to every situation, and roll with the

punches, so to speak.
Despite the ups and downs in the
peace talks, what is important is
that the Panel Secretariat is always
on its toes, energized and focused
on carrying out our defined work in
the service of the Panel, from where
we draw inspiration and our reason
for being.

Dir. Maria Carla Munsayac-Villarta

In the last 30 years, the Panel

Secretariat has served five panels
across five presidencies. Each
panel is unique, characterized by
the competence of each member
and the dynamism of the group.
Each panel has operated in a
different policy environment
under different administrations.
Each panel has experienced
difficulties and faced challenges
in the talks that have been marred
by over 15 disruptions due to
contentious issues that have recurred
through the years. We in the
secretariat have been quick to adjust

We in the Panel Secretariat see

ourselves as the backbone of the GPH
Panel. As the elves behind the main
players, we help the Panel do its job
with as much ease and efficiency
as possible. Often, we go beyond
meeting the Panels requirements, by
anticipating its needs and doing our
work proactively, without having to
be told.
With the wealth of knowledge and
experience it has accumulated through
the years, the Panel Secretariat is
preparing to share the narrative of the
peace process with the next panel in
the incoming administration. There
are lessons from the three decades of
talks that must be transmitted to the
new panel, and based on these, some
insights on moving the talks forward
towards a genuine political settlement
of the armed conflict.

Panel Technical Committee

The Panel Secretariat houses the
Panel Technical Committee (Tech
Com) which provides support to the
Panel and the PAPP with studies,
opinions, position papers, and
recommendations on issues arising
from the peace process.
The Tech Com is the repository
of a vast collective institutional
memory of the history of the peace
negotiations, since its inception
in 1986. Headed by Assistant
Secretary Dan Encinas as Chair,
the Tech Com is made up mostly
of veterans who have served the
government peace process since
1972. Their collective knowledge
and experience in the peace talks
through the decades has been
invaluable to the GPH in reading the
mind of the NDF panel.
The Tech Com meets often to assess
the status of the peace talks and
discuss ways to move the talks
forward. It is currently preparing
the Panels transition report on
the peace negotiations (1986 to
2016), including possible courses
of action for consideration by the
next administration. - Maria Carla

GPH-CNN Panel Technical Committee: Ma. Lorenza Palm-Dalupan, Paulynn Sicam, Dir. Maria Carla MunsayacVillarta, Asec. Danilo L. Encinas and BGen. Teodoro Cirilo T Torralba III (Ret).

March 2016




Office of the
Executive Director

Usec. Louie Montalbo


Director (OED), headed by
Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo,
is responsible for managing and
overseeing the organizations
operations. As ED, Usec. Montalbo
reports directly to the PAPP, cascades
her directives and instructions to all
OPAPP units, and ensures compliance.
The ED convenes the OPAPP
management committee composed
of all unit heads to discuss the
progress of the programs and
projects led by the agency, and
reports to the Executive Committee


OED: 1st row: Almie Kris Ocampo, Usec. Luisito Montalbo, Vanessa
Estrao, Joanna Marie Cabusao. 2nd row: Christian Medina, Prisci Val
Bulanhagui, Remi de Leon, John Estrellado.

for information and/or appropriate

action. He also represents the PAPP
in some functions and acts as the
officer-in-charge in her absence.
The units under the direct
supervision of the OED are Legal
and Security, Data Management,
Finance and Administrative Services,
Planning and Compliance, and
Monitoring and Evaluation.

Legal and Security Unit (LSU)

The Legal and Security Unit is in
charge of reviewing memoranda

of agreement, contracts and all

legal documents of the agency, and
coordinates with the Philippine
National Police and the Armed
Forces of the Philippines on security
matters in the implementation of
OPAPP programs and projects.

Data Management Unit (DMU)

When people hear about the Data
Management Unit, they probably
think of a repository for all OPAPPrelated data. While that is partly
true because, in a sense we operate
like a vault, that is not all we are.
March 2016

DMU: Mark Anthony Pallar, John Ray Domingo, Michael Macadangdang,

Lennard Duane Fernando, Francis Demata, Charmaine Medina, Aisa Faith

The Data Management Unit

manages and processes conflictrelated data alongside a number of
development indicators and
variables that may contribute to the
existence of conflict in the country.
In short, we handle data for and
about the different peace tables.
We extract (gathering, review),
transform (consolidation, tabulation,
normalization), and load
(linking, summary generation,
mapping) data.

Dir. Antonio Florida

March 2016

Maps? Yes, we do maps. Using

Geographic Information Systems
(GIS), we are able to generate
substantive maps using the data that
we gather, as long as we clean the
data first. Cleaning actually takes a
bigger portion of our time.
Working closely with the
Monitoring and Evaluation Unit,
our System Development Team
has created information system
applications to support the peace

tables, such as the PAMANA

Information System (PIS) and the
Former Rebel Information System
(FRIS), among others. These
systems present the consolidated
data to potential end-users in a
friendlier and more convenient
format, like the ones you see on
your smartphones. The fancy
buttons are part of a Graphical
User Interface (GUI) we developed.
Without them, wed be dealing with
a very complicated mishmash of
wires instead of merely tapping on
and sliding a screen. We also craft
user manuals for our systems to
help our clients maneuver through
the GUI. - Lennard Duane Fernando

Finance and Administrative

Services (FAS)
As the strategic partner of OPAPP
Management towards operational
excellence, the Finance and
Administrative Services (FAS)
Unit provides general
administrative support to all
units. As such, it facilitates the
finance, administrative and human
resources requirements of
the office.

Finance: 1st row: Eloisa Abasta, Grace Buena, Alicia Lazo, Cynthia Gabito.
2nd row: Florence Umoso, Diana Bachine, Corazon Almario, Teodora
Magayanes, Ligaya Mora, Sheryl Burawes, Melanie Manaloto, Maria Josella
Clemente, Josie Ann Manantan, Irish Tinampay. 3rd row: Ronald Ignacio,
Philip Paclean, Cesar Clement Dalisay, Alex Orendain.



of performance, accountability,
individual and organizational
learning, and development.
Under this office are the human
resource management office, and
the property and supply, billing
and ticketing, information and
communications technology,
records, building management, and
motor pool sections.
Since the unit has to respond to
rush requests, the people of FAS
have to be fast. - Karisse Macalanda

Dir. Adonis Zeta

FAS is composed of two offices:

Finance and Administrative Units.
Finance is composed of five
sections, namely, pre-audit, budget,
disbursement and liquidation, cashier,
and accounting. It is responsible for
ensuring OPAPPs compliance with
financial guidelines set by government
rules and regulations.
The Administrative Unit is
mandated to promote the culture

Planning and Compliance Unit

The Planning and Compliance Unit
(PCU), under the direct control
and supervision of the Office of the
Executive Director (OED), is tasked
with planning and assessment,
compliance and budgeting.
We are known in OPAPP as the
makukulit team.
We provide technical and
administrative support in the
crafting and alignment of the Work
and Financial Plans (WFPs) of all

OPAPP units with the set targets,

and monitoring compliance by
the units to their WFPs. We work
closely with the Monitoring and
Evaluation Unit (MEU) for an
integrated planning, monitoring
and evaluation process that ensures
plans are anchored on well-crafted
results frameworks.
We serve as the Performance
Management Team (PMT)
Secretariat for the grant of the
Performance-Based Bonus, for
which we review and validate unit
Office Performance Commitment
and Review (OPCR) ratings based
on their accomplishment reports
and satisfaction survey results for
support units and come up with an
assessment for final deliberation of
the PMT.
As the term of the Aquino
administration draws to a close,
there is a need to ensure that its
gains in the peace process are
sustained by documenting proven
and disproven processes, methods
and approaches to be transmitted
to the next administration
PCU is providing technical and

Administrative Unit: 1st row: Rodelio Samson, Dir. Adonis Zeta, Imelda Driza, Zayda Guanio, Gilly Guerrero, Milet
Limbo, Karisse Macalanda, Sarah Jane Trajano, Mary Grace Mendoza, Katrina Stangl. 2nd row: Danilo Alfonso,
Edward Anthony Esporas, Fatima del Valle, Liana Joyce Parungao, Ryan Pelicano, Girly Cortez, Dir. Antonio
Florida. 3rd row: Cedd Abilard Cepres, Noel Esternon, Elpidio dela Cruz, Bernard Malantic, Caezar Wenceslao,
Ernesto Jusaner Mancita, Michael Ucab, Jeremiah David Ballesteros, Emerson Urbano, Romeo Mariales.



March 2016

Dir. Pamela Ann S. Padilla-Salvan

administrative support for the

preparation of the Terminal Report
which shall review, document and
analyze OPAPPs accomplishments
(2010-2015) vis--vis its mission
and directions and craft
recommendations for the
next administration.
Our unit ensures the timely
submission of OPAPP reportorial
requirements and commitments
by coordinating with concerned
units, consolidating and checking
their inputs, and packaging and
transmittal of submissions of
briefers, documents, and reports
required by different government
agencies and offices.
PCU also serves as the Secretariat
of the Management and Executive
Committees, providing technical
and/or administrative support
during meetings, preparing the
agenda and required documents and
following through on the decisions
and action points agreed upon by
the ManCom and ExeCom.
We provide technical and
administrative support for the
March 2016

PCU: Jay Nuarin, Ann Margaret Reyes, Dir. Pamela Ann Padilla-Salvan,
Martin Lean Fernando, Melody Grace Orendain, Julius Oliver Gregorio.

budgeting process for the passage

of the OPAPP, Socio-Economic
Component of Normalization, and
PAMANA Budgets. This entails
working closely with the ManCom
on the succeeding years targets
and budgetary requirements and
the Finance Administrative Services
(FAS) for the completion and
submission of OPAPPs budgetary
requirements, coordinating
with the staff of the House of
Representatives and Senate,
ensuring the attendance of key
OPAPP officials and staff during
presentations and hearings, and
other staff support.
We have established and
implemented an integrated
planning and monitoring
and evaluation process and
PCME focal person system;
established and maintained a good
working relationship with liaison
officers of the Senate Committee
on Finance, the House Committee
on Appropriations and the DBM,
and implemented a focal person
system for attendance in
congressional technical
budget hearings.

Despite being understaffed and

tagged as makulit (demanding),
the PCU continues to deliver with
due diligence and accomplish
what is required through
continuous engagement and
constant communication with
concerned units and requesting
agencies. At times, we are even
on call 24/7 with the Presidential
Management Staff, but at PCU, its
all in a days work. - Pamela Ann

Monitoring and Evaluation

Unit (MEU)
When Secretary Teresita Quintos
Deles expressed satisfaction
regarding the updates from the
Monitoring and Evaluation Unit
(MEU) during the general assembly
on December 28, 2015, we knew
that all the hard work, stress,
sleepless nights, and early
morning email consultations we
experienced had paid off. The
PAPP also noted that the work in
setting up systems for reflection,
accountability, and learning during
the current administration has
been unprecedented.


Dir. Boy Randee Cabaces

The PAPPs recognition of the

efforts of MEU in instituting a
Conflict-Sensitive and Peace
Promoting Monitoring, Evaluation,
Accountability and Learning (CSPP
MEAL) system was like getting
the Christmas bonus we were all
waiting for.
MEU began as part of a larger unit
called the Planning, Monitoring
and Evaluation Unit (PMEU), which
supported monitoring and evaluation,
planning and compliance, and data
management initiatives within the
organization. In the latter part of
2014, a decision was made to break
down the PMEU into Monitoring and
Evaluation, Planning and Compliance,
and Data Management. Thus, the
birth of MEU.
As a support unit, the MEU provides
technical assistance for the
establishment of the M&E system of
peace tables and programs as well as
the enhancement of Transparency
and Accountability Mechanisms. It
also supports program evaluation
and learning, and other initiatives
of OPAPP units and its partner
agencies relative to the core
business processes for monitoring
and evaluation.



MEU: Jennifer Santos, Rene Maygay, Celia Loyola, Eugenio Sirot, Joffrey
Maranion, Dir. Boy Randee Cabaces, Timothy Salomon, Judith de Guzman,
Marie Bembie Girado. Not in photo: Emmanuel Santos.

Under the guidance of Director

Boy Randee Cabaces, the units
story highlights significant changes
in processes and mechanisms
that proved meaningful in
mainstreaming CSPP M&E practices
in support of the overall peace
building agenda, such as: (1) the
development and mainstreaming
of the CSPP MEAL system among
OPAPP units, partner National
Government Agencies (NGAs), Local
Government Units and other peace
partners; (2) laying the groundwork
for systematic evaluation work
as part of the discourse on
accountability and learning for
government programs; and (3)
surfacing the CSPP MEAL agenda
in policy initiatives such as in the
Sustainable Development Goals,
Local Development Planning, and
support interventions for
Most Vulnerable Groups through
its technical assistance to the
National Action Plan for Women,
Peace and Security and Children in
Armed Conflict.

that cited the units initiative and

continuous work in collaboration
and constant coordination with
OPAPP units and partner agencies,
generating new ideas from ground
partners that support ownership
of processes, and capacitating of
and support for the M&E initiatives
of OPAPP units. The MEU also
acknowledges existing areas
for improvement as spaces for
continued dialogue and engagement
with peace partners on how to
further enhance the service that it
provides to these partners.

Part of the units narrative points

toward how other OPAPP units
recognized the MEU as a trusted
service unit, as reflected in MEUs
user satisfaction survey results

Stories, questions, laughter, dreams,

friendship, practice, learning,
striving, and heart these are
some words that mirror the MEU. Jennifer Santos

The ability to laugh, even at

ourselves, enables the team to be
flexible and navigate the stresses of
our daily work, to continue weaving
stories of meaningful engagement in
humble service of the overall peace
building agenda. The team also takes
camaraderie and teamwork seriously
as evident in the members support
for each other not only in workrelated tasks but also in pursuing
one anothers personal goals.

March 2016


Office of the
Assistant Secretary for Policy

1st row: Joan Hope Tolibas, Asec. Jennifer Santiago Oreta, Miracle Jacklyn Espinas, Lolito Nakila. 2nd row: Divina
Gracia Conmigo, Carla Isabel Ravanes, Rachel Mariano, Leilani Lino, Edwin Jose, George Maggay.


Secretary for Policy reviews policy
documents from other government
agencies to ensure their consistency
with the national governments
peace process agenda. The office
develops strategy papers, policies,
and modules relevant to peace
processes with different groups.

Conflict Sensitive and Peace

Promotion framework in their
regular operations.

Today, the Executive Office for

Policy, known within OPAPP simply
as the Policy Unit, develops policies
and modules to help partner
agencies incorporate OPAPPs

When Assistant Secretary Jennifer

Oreta (aka Asec. Apple) took over
this office in November 2012, she
had only one co-worker, me, in a
tiny space, relates Carla Ravanes.

March 2016

The Policy Unit assists the Wholeof-Nation Initiative (WNI) Task

Force by developing strategies
and papers and providing support
for programs.

Asec. Jennifer Santiago Oreta



Adding one employee two months

later meant we could get more work
done. But it also made our already
limited workspace more cramped.
The Policy Unit supervises the
Project Management Office of
the Mainstreaming Peace and
Development in Local Governance
Program (MPDLGP) and the
Knowledge Management and
Resource Center (KMRC), making
sure their work is aligned with the
work of OPAPP in conflict-affected
The KMRC was established in 2013
initially as a hub for theory building
and research under the Policy Unit.
At the start, KMRC encountered
challenges in delineating its
functions within the organization.
The staff sought out experts who
could train them in knowledge
management. Eventually, KMRC
crafted a work plan and found its
niche in OPAPP.
KMRC veered towards capacity
building, crafting modules
and interactive audio-visual
presentations for the training of
former rebels as forest guards.

These formed part of Peace 101,

a collection of primer-videos on
Democracy, Citizenship, Human
Rights, Human Security and Peace,
and Values Clarification for
former rebels.
From its humble beginnings,
KMRC now maintains an effective
knowledge management system that
transforms knowledge resources into
knowledge products.
The unit manages the OPAPP
library, aka Ambassador Manuel
T. Yan Peace Resource Center
(Archiving); facilitates workshops
for OPAPP employees to broaden
their appreciation of the peace
process (Instruction); documents
lessons learned, best practices, and
gaps in implementation as inputs
in decision-making, policy-making;
and institutionalizes the culture of
knowledge-sharing (Research).
Integral to KMRCs operation is the
management of the OPAPP library
(AMTYPRC), which is home to
historical documents and artifacts
on the peace process since 1987
when the process was under the
Office of the Peace Commissioner. It

Dir. John Bradley Fenomeno

has a collection of more than 3,000

books, journals, and audio-visual
materials on the Philippine peace
process, acquired from various local
and international sources.
KMRC also assists other
OPAPP units, peace tables, and
project management offices.
Working closely with the
OPAPP communications unit, it
supervises the production of the
OPAPP publication, Kababaihan at
Kapayapaan. - Ernesto Rehuel Estonilo

KMRC: 1st row: Maria Rajini Cuevas-Demabasa, Fatima Arceo, Michelle Ann Ramirez, Melisa Gail Yubokmee.
2nd row: Dir. John Bradley Fenomeno, Lolito Nakila, Cherry Casilao, Ernesto Rehuel Estonilo, Allan Macalanda.



March 2016


Office of the
Undersecretary for Programs

Usec. Gettie Sandoval


Undersecretary for Programs (OUP)
headed by Usec. Gettie Sandoval
handles a gamut of OPAPP concerns,
from the NAP to the CBA-CPLA and
CLIP Coordinating Unit.

It serves as the Secretariat for the
implementation of the National
Action Plan on Women, Peace
and Security (NAP WPS). As such
it provides technical support to
government agencies and local
government units for the integration
of NAP WPS in both policy and
program levels. The Secretariat also
March 2016

OUP: Muriel Magadia, Lanie Disomangcop, Diana Kathrina Leomo, Jeanette

Bellen, Usec. Maria Cleofe Gettie C. Sandoval, Evelyn Cortez, Nena Maturan,
Helen Rojas Balawag, Maridel Alberto.

builds the constituency of NAP WPS

by strengthening linkages between
civil society and other stakeholders
to support its implementation.

Closure agreements
It handles the implementation of
governments peace agreements
with the Cordillera Bodong
Administration-Cordillera Peoples
Liberation Army (CBA-CPLA) and
the Rebolusyonaryong Partido
ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas/
Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex
Boncayao Brigade-Tabara Paduano
A Closure Agreement Secretariat
attends to the requirements of

putting closure on those peace

accords. Asec. Danilo Encinas
directly oversees the closure
programs with Dir. Marilou
Ibaez attending to the Project
Management Offices set up for the
The CPLA and the RPMP/RPA/
ABB accords are a follow-through
of earlier general ceasefire
agreements they signed with past
administrations in 1986 and 2000,
respectively. These agreements
have held over the years but the
have continued to exist as armed
units due to the lack of proper


OAP Closure: Jessie L. Figueras, Atty. Virgilio A. Tiongson Jr., Joevic T.

Bendanillo, BGen. Teodoro Cirilo Torralba III (Ret), Asec. Danilo L. Encinas,
Ferdy S. Naguit, Christopher M. Muncal, Eric Anthony A. Esporas, Paolo I.

The groups agreed to pursue the full

disposition of arms and forces in line
with their rejection of the armed
struggle as a means of pursuing the
peoples interests.
Says Dir. Ibaez, We have
encountered serious challenges
in the past four years; the
implementation processes and
relationships are far from perfect,
but no one from both groups has
threatened to go back to taking
up arms.
We have learned a number of
lessons that we would like to share
as ways of moving forward within

Dir. Marilou Ibaez



the time left under the Aquino

First, we learned that the
commitment of our leadership is very
important. President Aquino and
Secretary Deles have never wavered
in their pursuit of peace, governance
reforms and protection of democratic
rights, especially human and civil
and political rights. Our partners at
the closure tables continue to affirm
their trust in this leadership. It will be
crucial for the next set of leaders to
demonstrate the same commitment.
Second, we have learned the
importance of always going back

Asec. Dan Encinas

without which the turning in of

firearms can become just a oneoff showcase event that could be
countered by the acquisition of new
weapons, especially in places where
the ownership of firearms is part
of the local culture. The challenge
is how to build on peace building
mechanisms on the ground after
the disposition of arms and forces.
Particularly for CBA-CPLA, which
is the only table to have closed,
it is necessary to rely on
the communities, and on what
has worked for them in building
peace among themselves through
the years.

CAS: Janeth Reyes, Ira Sol, Sheryl Datinguinoo, Christina Loren Umali,
Dir. Marilou Ibaez, Den Mark Hernandez, Sandra Garcia, Maria Magdalena

March 2016


Coordinating Unit
The OUP also oversees the
implementation of PAMANA,
focusing on CPP/NPA/NDF affected
areas, in coordination with the
National PAMANA Management
Office (NPMO) and the PAMANA and
CLIP Coordinating Unit (PCCU).
The PCCU was formed with the
merger of two OPAPP operations
unitsPAMANA Luzon, Visayas,
Mindanao and the Comprehensive
Local Integration Program Unit
(CLIP). Its main role is to coordinate
the implementation of the PAMANA
program in identified areas affected
by the Communist insurgency.
Local offices were established in
different conflict zones: BicolQuezon-Mindoro, Samar Island, and
the CARAGA-Davao Corridor. These
zones are managed by area managers
supported by area coordinators.
One of its more successful initiatives
is the Serbisyo Peace Caravan that
PCCU championed, over 70 of which

have been held in the past three years

benefitting residents from around
470 barangays across the three zones.
The caravans, implemented alongside
PAMANA-funded projects, reinforce
the convergence of the different
regional line agencies (RLAs), local
government agencies/units (LGA/
LGU) and partner organizations
in the delivery of basic services in
conflict-affected areas and bring the
government closer to the people.
A major factor that has contributed
to the success in the implementation
of PAMANA projects is the fact that
the area managers and coordinators
are themselves stakeholders in their
respective areas. Thus, there is strong
local ownership of the program.
OPAPP has oversight function over
PAMANA, which is implemented
on the ground by the regional line
agencies and LGUs. Mostly, the
PCCU concentrates on ensuring that
the conflict-sensitive and peace
promoting processes of PAMANA are
adopted by PAMANA partners from
planning to project implementation,
monitoring the status of projects, and
documenting the significant changes

Dir. Ma. Eileen Jose-Salvador

in the lives of the communities due to

the convergence of efforts generated
by the program.
This is done at the inter-agency level,
which has further strengthened
OPAPPs partnership with RLAs/LGAs
and the concerned LGUs. With the
relationships established by the interagency group with the communities
on the ground, it is now the local
stakeholders who are starting to
initiate and replicate peace building
activities. - Juniel Guath

PCCU: 1st row: Paul Escober, Christopher Azucena, Dir. Ma. Eileen Jose-Salvador, Imelda Bonifacio, Anna Marie
Uytico. 2nd row: Juniel Guath, Jasmine Chua, Maricel Ballasola-Bantilo, Patricia Mae Alino, Luz Anggot, Ophelia
Delute, Tristan Jeremias Bello, Jesylita Encabo, Ken Feliciano. 3rd row: Bryan Azura, Francis Reboroso, Ramon Acal,
Flor Agner, Michael Patrick Sibbaluca.

March 2016




PAMANA National Program

Management Office

1st row: Menchie Celestial, Asec. Howard Cafugauan, Lakambini Magdamo. 2nd row: Roy Stephen Canivel, Rea
Etang, Lady Jean Kabagani, Joesilyn Largo, Nadia Lorena, Jennifer Ann Ambanta. 3rd row: Michael Ojano, Reginald
Baticulon, Dean Isip, Michael Angelo Filio, Pedro Sibayan.

THE PAMANA National Program

Management Office (NPMO) was
established to enable OPAPP to
perform its oversight function in
the implementation of the PAMANA
Program. It provides coordination
support to the policy guidance and
directions in the implementation of
the Program as well as the necessary
technical assistance in support of
PAMANA operations.
PAMANA is the national
governments program and
framework for peace and


development that caters to the needs

of conflict-affected and vulnerable
communities. PAMANA was
conceived as a complementary
track to the peace negotiations in
line with the Aquino administrations
strategy to attain just and lasting
peace. This is done by extending
development interventions to
isolated, hard-to-reach, and conflictaffected and conflict-vulnerable areas
(CAAs/CVAs), ensuring that they are
not left behind. As of 2016, PAMANA
has served communities in 15 regions,
totalling 48 provinces and six HUCs,

488 municipalities, and over 5,000

Through PAMANA, the administration
has invested PhP36.74B from 2011
to 2016 via national agencies in
promoting the convergent delivery
of goods and services, and addressing
regional or sub-regional development
challenges in areas affected by and
vulnerable to internal armed conflict.
PAMANA also highlights the good
governance agenda of the Aquino
administration (or Daang Matuwid)
through the adoption of transparency
March 2016

Asec. Howard Cafugauan

and accountability measures in

PAMANA implementation.
PAMANA aims to to improve
socio-economic conditions in CAAs
and CVAs and in areas covered by
peace agreements by developing
infrastructure and focusing on the
delivery of social services; improving
governance by building institutional
capacities of national government
agencies and local governments for a
conflict-sensitive, peace-promoting
and gender-sensitive approach to
development; and empowering
communities by strengthening their
capacities to address issues of conflict
and peace through activities that
improve social cohesion.
The NPMO gives technical assistance
to the development programs laid
down by the negotiating tables.
It provides concept notes on the
proposed area-based development
approach; formulates proposals
supporting the Bangsamoro
Convergence Forum; and
implements the community-based
demobilization-community security
management in Moro National
Liberation Front areas.
The NPMO also helps mainstream
the Conflict Sensitivity and Peace
March 2016

Promotion (CSPP) framework. CSPP is

the legacy of PAMANA, which is seen
to influence the planning of agencies
to support project interventions for
CAAs/CVAs. The NPMO has provided
technical and coordination assistance
to the mainstreaming effort in
cooperation with the OPAPP Policy
Unit and Monitoring and Evaluation
Unit, the National Economic and
Development Authority (NEDA), and
the Department of Interior and Local
Government (DILG). Through these
joint efforts, the government has
used CSPP indicators in formulating
the Medium-Term Plan for 20162022 (to support the United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals) and
in preparation for the Philippine
Development Plan.
The NPMO, in coordination with
OPAPP support units, also provides
capacity building for all partner
agencies, national or local, on
PAMANAs information system
and conflict-sensitive monitoring,
evaluation, accountability and
learning processes.
The NPMO coordinates with
PAMANA implementing agencies
at the national level on regular
agency monitoring and evaluation
activities; compliance with
reportorial requirements; and the
operationalization of the PAMANA
information system and the PAMANA
feedback and redress system.

Department of Social Welfare and

Development, DILG, Department
of Agrarian Reform, Department
of Agriculture, Bureau of Fisheries
and Aquatic Resources, Department
of Public Works and Highways,
Department of Energy, National
Irrigation Administration, National
Electrification Administration,
Philippine Health Insurance
Corporation, Commission on Higher
Education, National Commission
on Indigenous Peoples, and the
Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao. NPMO supports OPAPP
and agency partners during the
budget hearing process in Congress.
In support of project implementation,
the NPMO coordinates and provides
oversight to PAMANA coordinating
units for Bangsamoro, CPP/NPA/
NDF and Closure and Project
Management Offices that work with
with field offices of line agencies,
local government partners, and
beneficiary communities.
PAMANA also coordinates the
Localization of the National Action
Plan on Women, Peace and Security
of PAMANA LGUs in collaboration
with the Gender and Development
Focal Point System. - NPMO Team

To highlight the peace building gains

of PAMANA, NPMO in coordination
with the OPAPP Communications
Group has developed a strategic
communication plan for PAMANA,
which includes providing inputs to
the PAMANA website.
To support OPAPP responsibilities on
PAMANA, the NPMO works closely
with implementing agencies at the
national and regional levelsthe

Dir. Yusop Paraji




Office of the Undersecretary

for Bangsamoro Programs

Usec. Jose I. Lorena


OFFICE was established, we
where the MNLF and the MILF would
converge in a common framework
for peace. Difficulties and obstacles
have come our way preventing us
from moving towards that dream,
but we have never given up and with
strong faith, we always believed that
we would realize it one day.

of ONE BANGSAMORO finally began to

become a reality. The Tripartite
Review Process (TRP) on the
Implementation of the 1996 Final
Peace Agreement was concluded
with a singular pronouncement that
the Moro fronts (MILF and MNLF)
would come together in a common
framework to achieve lasting peace
and prosperity in Southern Philippines
and the country as a whole.

For the BMO, achieving ONE

BANGSAMORO is more than a task. It
is an aspiration of the unit, from its
head, Undersecretary Jose I. Lorena to
the technical and administrative staff,
and it has motivated every member of
the staff to perform his and her best.

We can now raise our heads high

and say that we have done it. There
could still be obstacles along the way
but we have faith that if you believe
in what you are doing, it will be
realized in due time.

On January 26, 2016 in Jeddah,

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the dream

Rhaffi Jumdain, Lourdes Asiatico, Ma. Eleonor Navarro, Mary Veron Gay
Asis, Rowena Lopez, Mohammad Dipatuan, Usec. Jose Lorena, Jana Jill
Gallardo, Vanessa Vianca Pallarco, Aris Aglupus, Cesar Iribani, Charlie


Our mission could only be

accomplished with unity and
cooperation in the team. The

Bangsamoro Office works not only as

a team, but as a family. We believe
that the team that works together
and believes in each other will rise
above the challenges and go farther.
We continue to work for PEACE,
believing that it will come, if not
now, tomorrow. The Bangsamoro
Basic Law, which will serve as the
framework of our convergence, will
be ours.
We continue to lay down the
foundations of convergence, which
the next administration can build
upon towards the realization of ONE
With the conclusion of the TRP,
convergence is close at hand. - Jana
Jill Gallardo
March 2016


The Communications Group and

Bangsamoro Communications Unit

1st row: Hannah Rose Manaligod, Asec. Rosalie Romero, Erwina Pea. 2nd row: Kriselle Aquino, Patricia Bianca Tica,
Irish Dominado, Shebana Alqaseer, Rosa Ilia Rafon, Charlotte Vicente, Dir. Aubrey Gail Mallari, Lester Niere, Joser
Dumbrique. 3rd row: Bret Irvin Pangilinan, Dann Daryl Lasala, Kris Lanot Lacaba, Bashia Grafilo, Darwin Wally Wee,
Roberto Capco, Marc Louis Siapno.


Communications Group by hitting
the ground running. You get to know
your colleagues stories during long
working hours, in long meetings
during crisis, while in unheard of
places during fieldwork; at press
conferences; and over the occasional
drinks that cap thaose stressful days
and nights.
The history of the Communications
Group is a side story to the ongoing
narrative of the peace process in
the Philippines. Its work requires
proximity to the agencys leadership
and programs, which allowed the
unit to experience the ups and
downs of peace work, perhaps more
directly than other units in OPAPP.
March 2016

At the start of her term in 2010, the

PAPP set the direction for better
communications support to the
agency. This resonated with the
clamor of peace stakeholders for fast
and updated reporting of the status
of peace negotiations.
In response, the Media and Public
Affairs Service of OPAPP inherited
in 2010 was transformed into a fully
functional Communications Unit
by the start of 2011 with Director
Polly Cunanan as the unit head, and
Assistant Secretary Rose Romero as
the supervising executive.
With a structure patterned after a
campaign set-up, the Unit boasted
by the middle of 2011, an improved

reach in quadmedia, better relations

with media, and was churning press
releases acknowledged as at par with
PR industry standards.
This transformation would serve
the unit and the agency well in
managing the crises that would
come OPAPPs way in the years
ahead. The Al Barka incident in 2011;
the Zamboanga siege in 2013; the
Mamasapano incident in 2015, are
just a few of the major crises that the
Communications unit worked with
the other units to manage.
Over the years, the units hard
work helped cultivate the publics
confidence in the peace process,
facilitated mainstreaming of peace


Asec. Rosalie Romero

and supported the constituencybuilding efforts of the agency.

By 2014, the Bangsamoro peace
process would reap achievement
after achievement that would
expand exponentially its
communications needs. This caused
the Unit to evolve further to provide
better services to all peace tables
and programs of OPAPP.
In 2015, the Communications Unit
became the Communications Group,
its personnel were broken into
teams providing specialized services
content development, creative,
PR and marketing, media relations,

Dir. Aubrey Gail Mallari,

Deputy Head for Operations

Dir. Polly Michelle Cunanan,

Bangsamoro Communications Unit

social media and news production.

This move resulted in the devolution
of communications teams to other
peace tables and programs. It
expanded its reach and created the
Mainland Mindanao and ZamBaSulTa
teams to cover the Southern

under the oversight of the

Peace Panel for talks with the
MILF, and become Bangsamoro
Communications Unit. Its services
are indispensable in the journey that
this peace process will continue to
tread towards the fulfillment of the
promise of peace in the Bangsamoro.

The move also gave birth to a bigger

Bangsamoro Communications team,
with Dir. Polly Cunanan at the helm,
its services solely dedicated to the
needs of the Bangsamoro peace

Through time, the Communications

Group has moved with the ebb
and flow of the peace process.
Those who will move beyond
this administration will continue
cultivating the soil from which the
sweet fruits of peace will flourish
for what we do is not merely work; it
is a way of life. - Marc Siapno

The Bangsamoro Communications

team would later be transferred

Bangsamoro Communications Unit: Joel Valino, Marvin Guevarra, Azenath Formoso, Mary Francis Rivera, Dir. Polly
Michelle Cunanan, Paolo Cansino, Angela Carla Segovia, McJazer Malonda, Alaisah Pendatun, Ryan Israel Advincula,
Mervin Gerellana.



March 2016

Last Words

Kababaihan at Kapayapaan has focused on the

work of Filipino women in government and civil
society in advocating, promoting and building
peace and development in the country. We have
featured their passion and dedication, and their
invaluable role in the promotion of societal
harmony and the resolution of conflict in big and
small ways.
They are negotiators hammering out peace
agreements with rebels, cabinet members
holding a peace and gender lens to governments
plans and programs, social workers delivering
goods and services to devastated areas,
development workers engaging communities
on their needs and aspirations, NGO personnel
bringing much-needed psychosocial and health
services to conflict-affected neighborhoods.
They work in the cities and the grassroots, in
sterile offices and godforsaken conflict areas.
They run bureaucracies, local governments,
halfway houses for returning rebels, and
detention facilities. They listen, they teach,
they counsel, they take risks, they lead. They are
focused, tireless, determined to do their share
in making a better country for women, children,
soldiers, rebels, and all Filipinos.
In this fifth and final issue of Kababaihan at
Kapayapaan, we honor these women and give
them the last word.

March 2016



This is the perfect moment to find your place in the wide-open spaces of the peace
process. Everyone is welcome, encouraged even, to look for ways and means to
support this noble endeavor. Roles have long been demolished and lines have long
been blurred. It has become imperative for everyone man, woman and child to
find their niche in the peace process and contribute to attaining lasting peace in
Mindanao. The generations to come deserve no less.

Head of the GPH Legal Team for GPH-MILF Peace Process

The goal of
participation is
to attain
durable peace.

Chief Executive Officer of the

National Commission on
Muslim Filipinos

Uya kami na dara na baril o bala. Pumapasok

kami sa mga areas naming ID lang ng DSWD ang
suot namin para ipakita sa kanila na hindi sila
nakalimutan ng gobyerno. (We have no bullets or
guns. We go to our areas wearing only our DSWD
IDs to show them that we the government
have not forgotten them.)

DSWD Community Facilitator in Maragusan, Compostela Valley

I think having so many women across the table helped our counterparts to be more
open to including women in their team. Just the fact that we were there, doing this job,
I think, made a statement.

Director, GPNP-MILF Secretariat

Yes we are different, biologically, socially. Men

traditionally carried arms, women gave birth.
But equality is not about sameness. It is about
relationships founded on mutual respect and the
dignity of both persons. It is no different from
what the MILF wanted for the Bangsamoro
parity of esteem. The same parity of esteem
or mutual respect that is desired between
the majority and the minority population is
desirable as well between men and women.


Former Member, GPH Panel for

Peace Negotations with the NDF

Herein lies the challenge:

of finding a common ground, of finding
the right words to cut through the crap
and the gunfire, of matching word with
deed, resolve with will, of restoring
integrity to words so that we do not
engage in wordplay and verbal
sleight-of-hand, but mean what we say
and say what we mean, of unlearning
war in order to wage peace.

Member, GPH Panel for

Peace Negotations with the NDF


Chair, GPH Panel for Talks with the MILF

Again the human cost

(of war) the destruction
and death, the chaos and
filth in the evacuation
centers, the human misery
because of the war that was
raging in the hinterlands
bakit kailangan maging
ganito tayo (why do we have
to be this way)? Why do
people have to be subjected
to this kind of life?

Women have borne the brunt of

decades of conflict, and change
must begin with them. There can
be no healing and wholeness of
our body politic if women remain
broken, insecure and violated.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

I believe in the inherent goodness of every person. Thats why we are

not giving up. Let us appeal and explain, perhaps they will listen,
they will have open minds, open hearts for us to finally have a chance for peace.

Representative, Anak Mindanao party list

The trouble with the pursuit of peace is that it can only be as simple or
as complex as the people involved. Therefore, anyone who wants to be a peace advocate
should be comfortable with difficulty and willing to work with questions that might have
no ready answers. This is a thankless job: the only reward for the pursuit of peace is
the promise of peace. Who knows whether we might ever get there? But most times
a promise is more than enough as something to live for.


Former Head of the GPH Legal Team for GPH-MILF Peace Process

Dear sisters, once more we stand on the threshold of change.

The call of the hour is electoral politics. How do we count
women, and make women count, if we do not get our feet wet?
How do we get a gendered reading, and writing, of history if
we do not dirty our nails? We must engage in, even embrace,
politics in order to change it; there are no shortcuts.
But what if politics changes us? My dear sisters,
we have been long enough in this game to know that if
politics changes us, it will certainly be for the better.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Gender and Peace Events

March - December 2016

1st Week


Nuclear Free & Independent Pacific Day

International Womens Day

Theme: Pledge for Parity!


Bangsamoro Week of Peace

4th Week



National Womens Week



National Womens Month

Theme: Kapakanan ni Juana, Isama sa Agenda!

Anniversary of the Signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect

for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) (1998)
Protection and Gender-Fair Treatment of the Girl Child Week


International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights
Violations and for the Dignity of Victims


Anniversary of the Signing of the GPH-MILF Comprehensive Agreement on the

Bangsamoro (CAB) (2014)

International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action


Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare


Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives
during the Second World War


Mothers Day


International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia


International Womens Day for Peace and Disarmament


International Day of UN Peacekeepers

International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression


World Refugee Day


United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Anniversary of the Signing of the GPH-CBA-CPLA Memorandum of Agreement

(MOA) (2011)


Anniversary of the Signing of the GRP-MILF Agreement for General Cessation

of Hostilities (1997)

International Day of the Worlds Indigenous Peoples



International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Day

International Youth Day


March 2016


Anniversary of the Signing of the Magna Carta of Women (RA 9710) (2009)


World Humanitarian Day


International Day against Nuclear Tests


International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances



Gender and Peace Events

March - December 2016


National Peace Consciousness Month

Anniversary of the Signing of the GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement (1996)


National Day of Prayer for Peace and Reconciliation


Anniversary of the Signing of the 1986 Mt. Data Peace Accord (Joint
Memorandum of Agreement to a Cessation of Hostilities) between the GPH and
the CBA-CPLA (1987)


International Day of Peace


International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons


International Day of Non-Violence


International Day of the Girl Child


Anniversary of the Signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro

(FAB) (2012)
International Day of Rural Women



Disarmament Week

International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War

and Armed Conflict


World Science Day for Peace and Development


World Day for the Prevention of Abuse and Violence against Children and


Universal Childrens Day


International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Last Week

Mindanao Week of Peace

1st Week

Mindanao Week of Peace

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Anniversary of the Signing of the GRP-RPM-P/RPA/ABB Peace Agreement (2000)


Human Rights Day




March 2016

Kababaihan at Kapayapaan
is on its fifth and final issue.

All issues are available online at