Source : PHILISTAR.com Updated October 10, 2012 12:00 AM
Peace process adviser Teresita Deles (fourth from left) receives her 2012 Role Model for Peace in Asia award yesterday at the New World Hotel in Makati. With her are fellow awardees (from left) Sadhu Ram Sapkota of Nepal, Suraiya Kamaruzzama of Indonesia (Second From Left), Rupika Damayanthi de Silva of Sri Lanka, Mana Lou of Timor-Leste and Quhramaana Kakar, Amina Azimi and Farkhunda Zahra Naderi of Afghanistan.
MANILA, Philippines – Secretary Teresita Deles was awarded as one of the “role models for peace” in Asia yesterday.
The presidential adviser for the peace process received the award, along with several others, from N-Peace Network, which the UN Development Program has facilitated and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) has backed.
Deles was cited as the first female presidential adviser for the peace process who came from a non-government organization.
President Aquino, who attended the ceremonies, said, “I am as certain of her dedication as I am of her discomfort now; Ging was never one to point towards her own sacrifices, knowing that so many others have done as much, and more, in the name of the cause they believed in.”
The award for Deles came two days after the government forged a historic framework agreement with Muslim rebels in Mindanao, which could pave the way for the establishment of a Bangsamoro area in the conflict-stricken southern region.
“We must admit: building peace is not easy. But each of our awardees has already shown us that even a single person can accomplish so much if it is borne out of a desire to help our fellow men,” Aquino said.
Speaking at the New World Hotel in Makati, Aquino said when he and Deles were together in an event that a civil society group had organized, the soles of Deles’ worn-out rubber shoes had fallen off, but that did not stop her from walking.
“Secretary Deles was marching in her bare feet, with only the tops of her rubber shoes intact,” he said.
“She could have stood aside, stopped marching, but she did not even complain or make a big deal out of it. I wanted to share this with you because I have always believed that actions, and not words, show best the true character of any person, man or woman.”
He believes that the agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front “will hopefully seal a final, lasting peace in Mindanao and in the Philippines.”
Deles vowed to continue working for peace amid the challenges.
“The bottom line is that ending all internal armed conflicts in the country will not be easy, but it is something that we will not let go of,” she said.
Deles held the same position of peace process adviser during the Arroyo administration from 2003-2005.
“The daily toil and toll of keeping and making peace can challenge even the most persevering among us,” she said. “It’s not an easy job to keep the parties to a conflict consistently committed to dialogue. And to keep reminding them until you are red in the face that there are other ways of resolving issues than just by force of arms. It’s not easy, but we persevere, because our people cannot afford to suffer anymore.”
Other awardees were Farkhunda Zahra Nedari, a member of Afghanistan’s parliament, Quhramaana Kakar of Afghanistan, Radha Paudel of Nepal, Sadhu Ram Sapkota of Nepal, Sister Lourdes (Mana Lou) of Timor-Leste, Suraiya Kamaruzzaman of Indonesia, and Rupika de Silva of Sri Lanka.
N-Peace, a multi-country network, honors leading peace advocates in Asia.