VIGILANCE. OPAPP Secretary Jesus Dureza receiving a miniature vinta from Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar as token of appreciation for gracing the city's commemoration of 119th Philippine Independence. Photo by Bong Santisteban/Rappler

Sec. Dureza urges stakeholders to heal wounds of conflict

In his speech delivered during the celebration of the country’s 119th Independence Day in Zamboanga City, Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza urged stakeholders to work on relationship building and healing the wounds and divisions brought about by armed conflict, said a report by OPAPP posted in its official website.

“I always say this before, and even now, I can build easily the [physical] structures destroyed by the armed conflict. I can also build the school buildings that were burned down. But building of the relationships, bringing back social cohesion, and mending the torn social fabric brought about the conflict takes time. The healing takes time,” Dureza said. 

Dureza along with Mayor Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar, hoisted the Philippine flag and laying of the wreaths at the iconic Plaza Rizal, fronting the City Hall.

Dureza emphasized the very important process of healing amid the crisis in Marawi and the continuing recovery of Zamboanga City following the 2013’s siege.

“I see here in Zamboanga, the healing process has already started. And we can see the results. This is principally due to the leadership of Mayor Beng and the city officials in cooperation with the military, police, and members of the different sector, and most especially the civilians,” the presidential adviser said.

He noted that indications show that Zamboanga “is now moving forward. The city is already building torn relationships.”

Dureza emphasized that the healing process is one of the lessons that could help the current conflict besetting in Marawi.

The rehabilitation process “is not only to rebuild damaged physical structures in Marawi, but the most important task, which is not easy to do, is building back broken relationships and healing the wounds.”

“There is a strong need for social healing…and see to it that we don’t have a continuity of this conflict,” he said.

At the same time, Dureza reiterated the need to check “hatred and deep-seated biases” to advance the cause.

“When you say, ‘I’m going to help bring about peace’. I will ask you: are you at peace with yourself? Because if you have anxieties, angsts, and hatred, then you cannot radiate to others what you do not have. And that is the lesson that we should learn. Because you cannot give what you do not have,” he said.