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Duterte issues an executive order renaming OPAPP to OPAPRU.

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order (EO) reforming and renaming the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPP) to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU).

Duterte’s EO No. 158, which he issued on December 27, establishes a policy framework for peace, reconciliation, and unity based on three principles: “conflict-sensitive and peace-promoting,” “whole-of-society,” and “empowering.”

“To more effectively build on the achievements of the national government on peacebuilding engagements over the last decade, there is a need to continually reassess and realign how policies and programs on peace processes are designed, implemented, and monitored, and expand the peace framework to include initiatives that reinforce national reunification and reconciliation, as part of enhancing resiliency, and social, political, and economic reengineering,” the EO stated.

The President, who will give overall policy guidance in the conduct of the comprehensive peace process, will lead the administrative structure to operationalize the policy framework on peace, reconciliation, and unity under E0 158.

The President appoints the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (PAPRU), who has the position and compensation of a Cabinet Member.

Managing, directing, integrating, and supervising all areas of the entire peace process, including measures that promote and reinforce national reconciliation and unity, are among the PAPRU’s functions and responsibilities.

The PAPRU is charged with developing and recommending to the President policies, plans, programs, and actions for implementing the comprehensive peace process, as well as measures that support ongoing reconciliation and reunification efforts.

It will also keep track of the progress of programs and projects carried out by government agencies and instrumentalities as part of the comprehensive peace process, such as the PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) Program.

The PAPRU is also charged with holding regular dialogues with peace partners in order to obtain relevant information, feedback, and recommendations, as well as providing the President with appropriate and timely reports on the progress of the comprehensive peace process and recommending legislative and constitutional reforms aimed at achieving long-term peace, unity, and reconciliation.

EO 158 establishes Government Peace Negotiating Panels (GPNPs), who will be designated by the President as his/her official emissaries to conduct direct negotiations, dialogues, and discussions with rebel factions.

GPNPs must report on the conduct and progress of their negotiations to the President through the PAPRU.

A Panel Secretariat will offer technical support to each GPNP and will be under the direct control and supervision of the Panel Chairperson.

The concerned GPNP shall be dissolved upon the signing of a final peace agreement with a rebel group, and a counterpart Government Peace Implementing Panel (GPIP) may be formed, with members appointed by the President, to engage the relevant rebel group for the implementation phase of the peace agreement.

Each GPIP will be supported by a Panel Secretariat, which will be under the Panel Chairperson’s direct administration and oversight.

The monies required to carry out this order will come from the OPAPP’s current appropriations. Following the typical budget process, funding requirements for the coming years will be reflected in the yearly General Appropriations Act.

On the suggestion of the PAPRU, the President shall appoint a Panel of Advisers for each of the GPPs, consisting of representatives from the Senate, House of Representatives, Cabinet members, civil society representatives, and other advisers.

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