By Francis Wakefield
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretsry Jesus Dureza challenged the media to engage the entire country in the pursuit of peace.
Speaking at the 22nd National Press Forum of the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) on May 24 at the Jen Hotel in Pasay City, Dureza — himself a former journalist who headed the PPI from 2013 to 2016 — said the media have a unique role in peace building that no other group can perform.
“The only group that engages the public is media,” he said.
“This is why the role of the media is very important, especially in our peace work.”
Dureza said the public will not appreciate the milestones achieved in the peace process if they are informed only after agreements are signed and not while the process is going on.
“We feel that even if we sign agreements with the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) and the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples’ Army-National Democratic Front), if the public will not know the basic information and will only learn about it after the agreement was signed, they will not give their support,” he said.
Dureza said while government engages the “smaller tables” of the MILF and the CPP-NPA-NDF, it needs to get the support of the “bigger table” of the public.
“The media is vital because you address our bigger table almost on a 24/7 basis,” he said.
Dureza was a veteran journalist before becoming a public servant. Aside from the PPI, he also headed media groups like the regional chapter of the Publisher Association of the Philippines and the Davao Press Club.