May 23, 2024

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (Opapru) headed by Sec. Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. together with Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, spearheaded the signing of memorandum of agreement and groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Peace and Development Center in Baguio City on Feb. 16.

The Peace and Development Center will serve as a hub for peace and development efforts and a venue for conventions and conferences, contributing to the city’s socio-economic development.

The center, the first of its kind in Northern Luzon, will be jointly managed by Opapru and the city government.

It is located at the former Teacher’s Cabin at DPS Compound, Upper Session Road and will serve not only Baguio but also the Cordillera.

The initial budget for the building construction was set at P50 million, but Magalong and Galvez opted to increase it by an additional P20M during the planning phase and P30M, allocating for furnishings and textures.

The plan started when Magalong and Galvez appeared as guests at the Philippine Military Academy during the pandemic where Galvez talked about the finances and initiatives of Opapru in relation to their peacekeeping and reconciliation programs.

Although Magalong noted Baguio City does not have any conflict areas, Galvez proposed funding the construction of the Peace and Development Center through the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan Program, as they were seeking a suitable location for this endeavor.

In September 2023, Opapru formally proposed the idea of setting up the facility in the city.

The presence of the Peace and Development Center will support peace-building efforts in the city.

Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan and Opapru Director Christina Loren B. Umali were also among the signatories of the MOA. – Krizia Mae Pagusan and Janina Camiller