By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte urged the public to unite against those who are trying to divide the country by promoting violent extremism and sowing fear, hatred, and terror among Filipinos.
The President made the appeal at the 24th anniversary celebration of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in Malacañang Thursday evening.
Duterte, in his speech, urged the public to unite to achieve genuine and lasting peace in the country.
“Let us unite against those who promote violent extremism, sow divisions, hatred and terror among our people,” Duterte said.
“Let us stand firm and resolute as we work together for a just, unifying, and lasting peace in our country,” he added.
Duterte also thanked the OPAPP for its efforts in achieving peace in the country despite being a relatively young agency.
“Look where you are now. In just a short span of time, you achieved goals that many doubted that you would be able to accomplish,” Duterte said.
“Your efforts turned enemies into friends and partners brought hope to conflict-torn areas, communities, and uplifted the spirits of people who for decades dreamt only of peace,” he added.
Duterte, citing the OPAPP’s perseverance and dedication, said lasting peace is possible and that the country can rise to become a stronger and more unified nation.
“Your perseverance has convinced us that regardless of our diversity and differences, all Filipinos will stand together as one towards attaining our aspirations of peace and prosperity,” he said.
The President also thanked the government’s peace partners including donor agencies, civil society organizations, national government agencies, local government units, and the media.
“The milestones that the OPAPP had achieved would not have been possible were it not for your support and your initiatives,” Duterte said.
“Thank you for sharing your time, expertise and resources, and for extending a helping hand to our government and our communities,” he added.
Duterte also promised the partners in peace process that the government will continue to extend the hand of friendship and peace.
“I have high hopes that we will continue to build our gains to find common support and to work together despite setbacks and disagreements,” he said.
The President also thanked official and members of the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing (PAW), a special unit intended to provide safe and secure air transport to the President.
In his speech during the Bluebirds Night and 49th anniversary celebration of the 200-strong PAW at the Villamor Air Base Thursday night, Duterte said PAW has been a reliable partner and a trusted arm of the presidency.
Duterte also commended the 250th PAW for “formulating a flight operations manual and the various awards it received that serve as proof of its unwavering dedication and commitment, particularly in ensuring flight safety.”
He promised the officials and members of the PAW that the procurement of additional aircrafts is underway, noting its importance to the organization’s enhancement of its capabilities as a unit.
“I guarantee you, you will have the full support of the government in the performance of your mandate,” Duterte said.
He also expressed hopes that the PAW personnel will remain true to their oath to protect the presidency – not for himself, but for the Filipinos and the country.