The Philippine Consulate General in Milan, in collaboration with OFW Watch Italy, conducted a peace forum with Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, concurrent GRP Panel Chair for Peace Negotiations with the CPP/NPA/NDF, at the Centro Ambrosiano on January 22.

More than 300 leaders, members, and representatives of various Filipino Community organizations in Milan and Northern Italy attended the forum.

Consul General Marichu Mauro considered the peace forum as a groundbreaking event, being the first of its kind to be held in Milan since the establishment of the Consulate in 1995. She conveyed to Secretary Bello the importance of all overseas Filipinos being stakeholders in the "bigger table" of the peace process.

Secretary Bello thanked the Philippine Consulate in Milan and the various Filipino associations for organizing the event. He conveyed the assurances of President Rodrigo Duterte to all overseas Filipinos to streamline the procedure in obtaining travel documents, and establish an OFW Bank to handle the remittances of overseas workers.

Secretary Bello discussed the ongoing third round of peace negotiations with the CPP/NPA/NDF, and emphasized the objective of eliminating the root causes of conflicts in the Philippines.

Secretary Bello took note of the various issues affecting Filipino migrant workers in Milan and Northern Italy and pledged the support of President Duterte and his administration. He emphasized that the welfare of overseas Filipinos is first and foremost in the President's policy.

He urged overseas Filipinos to support the ongoing peace negotiations by becoming more aware of developments and help push the talks towards its successful conclusion.

GRP Panel Members, Atty. Angela Trinidad and Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan, Director Jesus Cruz of DOLE, and Acting Labor Attache and OWWA Officer Jocelyn Hapal joined Secretary Bello during the forum. END

Source: Republic of Philippines Department Of Foreign Affairs