Sec. Jesus Dureza, with Consul General Theresa Dizon-de Vega and Vice Consul Khrystina Corpuz, holds a Luncheon Forum with members of the Fil-Am media and Filipino-American Community groups at the Philippine Center, New York. (Photo by NYPCG)
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza met with the Filipino-American media and members of the Filipino-American community at Lunch Forum at the Kalayaan Hall Annex of the Philippine Center New York on Dec. 9, 2016.
All the participants engaged in a interesting and engaging dialogue on developments in the Philippines particularly on the peace process and war on drugs.
Consul General Theresa Dizon-de Vega introduced Secretary Dureza, noting that the Secretary attended the Simbang Gabi sa Konsulado the previous night and delivered an address before some 150 Filipino mass-goers.
She also noted that Secretary Dureza has held various critical portfolios in his long career in government service.
Secretary Dureza endeavored to enlighten the attendees on what he termed as the “Duterte enigma,” relating his personal understanding of the President’s character and strategic thinking.
Speaking about his Office’s accomplishments, Secretary Dureza apprised the group on Peace Process developments, and shared results of the first and second rounds of the Peace Talks with the rebel groups.
He added that he remains optimistic about the positive outcome of the talks as he believes a “level of trust has been reached between the Leftist groups and the Government.”
Sec. Dureza likewise disclosed that a third round of talks is scheduled in January in Rome, where the Government and the CPP-NPA will discuss socio-economic reforms.
He is hopeful that “Dividends of Peace” will be realized as the Peace Talks progress, and is seeking support from the international community in this regard.
Later that day, he met with United Nations Development Program Administrator Helen Clark to talk about the development aspects of the peace process.
Among those who participated in the Lunch Forum were members of the Fil-Am media, representatives of various Filipino Community organizations and around 8-10 Human Rights advocates who held a brief protest outside the Philippine Center calling for the release of political prisoners.
The protestors were invited by Secretary Dureza to participate in the Forum.
The Secretary entertained questions from the all attendees on other issues such as extra-judicial killings, the move towards federalism in the Philippines, contributions of the Filipino-American community, the situation of the Lumads (indigenous people) in the midst of the peace negotiations, and the economic prospects of the Philippines under the Duterte administration, among others.
The Forum originally scheduled to be held only from 12 noon to 2 p.m. was extended for an additional hour due to the extensive discussions.
Sec. Dureza poses for a photograph with some of the Forum participants. (Photo by NYPCG)