Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles was conferred with the first Freedom Flame Award on Tuesday by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FnF), a German non-government organization that promotes liberal democracy, economic freedom, respect for human rights, and rule of law.
FnF said it recognized Deles for “her tireless efforts to promote a peaceful settlement for Bangsamoro.”
The other awardees were Senator Franklin Drilon for pushing for the sin tax bill; Congressman Erin Tañada for upholding the Freedom of Information bill; Presidential Adviser on Environmental Protection Nereus Acosta and singer-songwriter Noel Cabangon for their efforts to help the environment; Cong. Niel Tupas, Jr. for his part in the Corona impeachment trial; and Rappler Editor-in-Chief Marites Vitug for her reports and reflections on the impeachment trial.
Also recognized was the family of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo. Robredo’s wife Atty. Leni, and daughters Aika, Tricia, and Jillian were given the Freedom Flame award for their courage, and for being “beacons of hope for Filipinos who wish for better governance.”
|Sec. Deles makes a wish for peace as she sets off a Freedom Lantern.|
Deles said the award will serve as a reminder for our “continuous perseverance in pursuit of a just and lasting peace” for all Filipinos.
“Even if we are in a state of euphoria due to the recent achievement for the Bangsamoro in Mindanao, there is still so much work to be done,” she added.
“As this administration has always been committed in advancing peace, we continue to hope and persevere in putting all armed conflicts to peaceful settlements,” Deles said.
The Freedom Flamers
The Freedom Flame Award is given to personalities who “played significant roles in this year’s milestones, in events that led to allowing Filipinos to better experience freedom in the country.”
In his opening remarks, FnF Country Director Jules Maaten cited the Philippines’ two events this year: the impeachment of the chief justice and the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro. “In the years to come, we will be looking back at these events as markers of Philippine history.”
“These historic events were people-driven. They were not done because of political expediency. They were done because these are what the people wanted,” he added.
Commission on Elections Commissioner Grace Padaca, who was the chosen speaker for the annual “Freedom Speech,” defined what freedom entails.
“Real freedom is when you feel free enough to give up some of your freedom, and leave your comfort zone (to do what is right),” she said. “(For instance), if you are afraid of how (your decisions) will affect your popularity, then you are immobilized. This kind of fear is more paralyzing than polio.”
For her part, Deles defined freedom for the people in conflict-affected areas, especially those in Mindanao.
“War has brought hunger and created gaps in health and education services,” said Deles during the awards night. “With the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), we created a roadmap that will give the people freedom from fear and insecurity.”
A milestone in the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the FAB provides for the creation of the new Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. #