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Dureza: Lumad can play a key role in peacebuilding

MARILOG DISTRICT, DAVAO CITY, October 25, 2018 — Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza highlighted the crucial role of local tribal members in peacebuilding, particularly in resolving situations of conflict in their communities.

“You should use your voices. We in government will provide the platform,” Dureza said during the Multi-Stakeholders Peace Forum and Dialogue organized by the Non-Violent Peace Force and supported by the Embassy of Finland.

He noted that indigenous people (IPs) are among the most affected when armed hostilities between government troops and rebel forces break out.

“You, the Lumad, are the ones caught in the crossfire. It is therefore important that we engage you,” Dureza told almost a hundred representatives of the Matigsalog tribe attending the forum.

According to the peace adviser, around 80 percent of those recruited by insurgent groups are Lumad residing in the countryside.

“They (IPs) are the ones easily recruited,” Dureza said.

He said the reason is that those who take part in armed struggle are driven by a perception that they have been forgotten by government and their needs are being ignored.

“They don’t have schools. They are very poor. They don’t have food on their tables,” he said.

Dureza said this is the reason the Duterte Administration is implementing the “whole-of-government approach,” an integrated and holistic strategy of providing much-needed services to communities situated in remote, underdeveloped communities.

“All the government agencies must be involved in this effort. This is why we are here to listen to your concerns. We will amplify your voices,” he said.

Dureza said due to the cancellation of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the national government is encouraging the conduct of localized peace engagements with the rebels.

He said while the guidelines for these locally-initiated discussions are still being finalized, they are seen as an effective strategy of addressing the country’s decades-long insurgency problem.

“LGUs (local government units) know best who are the ones they should talk to and engage. They (LGUs) are the ones who can find the best solutions,” Dureza said.

Using the “chicken-and-egg analogy,” Dureza emphasized that peace and development should not come one after the other but should happen simultaneously.

“We need to help improve the lives of the people. Peace and development should go hand in hand,” Dureza said.

He said there is now a “greater focus” on the part of the national government to address the roots of the armed conflict in the country.

Although Dureza said the window is still open for the resumption of the peace talks with the communist rebels, the main objective of government is to end the conflict and bring sustainable development to marginalized communities.

“This is easier said than done. Our goal is to put an end to the armed conflict,” he said. ###

By | October 25th, 2018|CPP-NPA-NDF, Indigenous Peoples, News|0 Comments

International donor community reaffirms support for GPH-MILF peace process

DAVAO CITY, October 12, 2018 — Representatives of the diplomatic corps and the international donor community converged yesterday in this city to declare their unwavering support for the peace process between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

In his opening remarks during the “Conversation Between MILF Chair Murad Ebrahim and Development Partners” organized by the United Nations in the Philippines, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza underscored the invaluable role of foreign partners in pushing the GPH-MILF peace process forward.

Umbilical cord of peace process

“We appreciate that you are all here to lend your support. You are the umbilical cord that kept us from walking away,” Dureza said.

He noted how the country’s international partners had helped sustain the peace negotiations between the national government and the rebel group particularly during periods of uncertainty and armed conflict.

He said with the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), he is looking forward to seeing the continued assistance coming from foreign partners, especially the implementation of initiatives that would help create a groundswell of support for the landmark measure.

“Expectations from the people are very high. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done,” Dureza said.

He also emphasized the need for a multi-stakeholder approach in addressing the many challenges confronting the future Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) once the BOL is ratified in a plebiscite scheduled on January 21, 2019.

According to the peace adviser, high poverty incidence, a dearth of job opportunities, and the lack of adequate infrastructure are among the major concerns confronting the region.

“We have to address these problems together,” he said, adding that finding solutions to these pressing issues “is only solving half of the problem.”

Dureza said in order to bring about sustainable development in communities, stakeholders should focus their efforts on improving the lives of people on the ground.

He said due to the much-improved peace and security conditions in the region, genuine economic growth can now take root wherein the Bangsamoro people can partake of its benefits.

Dureza stressed the need for everyone to “learn from the lessons of the past.”

“Let us not squander this golden opportunity,” her said,

From fighters to leaders

For his part, MILF Chairman Murad Ebrahim said the MILF is fully aware of the many challenges confronting his organization, particularly the forthcoming shift from the ARMM to the BARMM.

Murad said the upcoming plebiscite for the ratification of the BOL is “a major hurdle” for the MILF, which is the main proponent of the law and is expected to assume top leadership positions once the BARMM is set up.

He said the establishment of the Bangsamoro region and government requires the enactment of the law, which, he pointed out, “is the product of more than 40 years of negotiations.“

Murad admitted that the MILF members’ transition from being combatants to leaders in the community will not be easy and will require a lot of effort on their part.

“We are revolutionaries who have been trained in warfare but nil in terms of experience in electoral processes,” he said.

Murad said there are two crucial transitions that must happen to ensure the MILF completes its transformation as an organization.

The first transition is the implementation of timely programs and projects for the 30,000 to 40,000 MILF fighters who will undergo the delicate process of decommissioning.

“These combatants need to be transformed into productive members of the population,” Murad said.

The second transition would be providing the MILF members with the necessary capacity-building interventions that will make them capable and effective leaders.

“We need to understand the intricacies of government. We are neophytes [in this field] and we need to learn,” Murad said.

Greater synergy among donors

At the same event, UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Ola Almgren lauded the MILF leadership for working hard to turn their vision into reality.

“Your (MILF) vision is very clear. You laid out a central pathway that would give us the ability to engage,” Almgren said.

He stressed the need for greater synergy among international donor agencies, particularly in the implementation of programs and projects in the region.

“There must be an alignment of our plans with those of the Bangsamoro,” Almgren said as he reaffirmed his agency’s commitment to undertake initiatives that would help bring long-lasting peace and genuine development in the region.

“We are happy to play that role. We stand ready to help you,” he said. ###

By | October 12th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News, Partners for Peace|0 Comments

BOL will end Moro people’s ‘narrative of isolation’ – BTC commissioner

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, October 11, 2018 — The passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) is a major victory not only for the Moro people but for the Filipino nation as a whole.

This was declared by Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Commissioner Maisarah Dandamun-Latiph during the seminar workshop dubbed “Understanding Federalism in the Philippine Context” held October 9 at the VIP Hotel in this city.

“The [BOL] will result in unity and social cohesion,” Latiph said, noting that there are still “a lot of misconceptions” about the Moro people.

She said she is hopeful that through the landmark measure, there will be a better understanding of the Bangsamoro people’s aspirations, particularly their decades-long struggle for self-governance.

Latiph, who was among those who drafted the BOL, said the law is one of the major pillars of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that was signed in 2014 between the Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

She said the CAB is “a comprehensive solution” which, through the BOL, “will be the legal framework that will set the stage” towards realizing the dreams of the Moros.

In order to ensure the successful implementation of the BOL, Latiph re-echoed Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza’s recommendation to carry out a multi-stakeholder effort that would help capacitate the future leaders of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or BARMM government.

The BARMM will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) once the BOL is ratified in the plebiscite scheduled on January 21, 2019.

“We need leaders who will do their best and be capacitated,” Latiph said.

She said this capacity-building process was requested by the MILF leadership itself, which recognized the need to equip its members with the necessary skills that would enable them to become effective leaders.

She said the upcoming plebiscite to ratify the BOL is very crucial.

“This (plebiscite) is a recognition of the legitimacy of the [future] BARMM government,” Latiph said. “It is the people [themselves] who will say yes or no to the law.”

Latiph said she is confident that once the BOL is implemented properly, the people will throw their full support behind it.  

“We need a foundation where we can stand on,” she said, referring to the BOL.

Latiph said she anticipates that upon the ratification and full implementation of the law, “the narrative of isolation [of the Bangsamoro people] will come to an end.” ###

By | October 11th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

OPAPP urges civil society: Read the BOL

CAGAYAN DE ORO, October 10, 2018  – The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has urged members of civil society to go over the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in its entirety as this will be the key in developing a better appreciation of the landmark measure.

“Please read it. This is the best way to understand it,” OPAPP Undersecretary and GPH Implementing Panel Chair Nabil Tan said in his remarks at the “Civil Society Organization’s Assessment and Planning Workshop” held last October 8 at the New Dawn Plus Hotel in this city.

The two-day forum was organized by the Initiatives for Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM) and supported by the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP).

Tan said there are still apprehensions regarding the law because many still have not seen its actual content.

“Get hold of the law. So there will be no misconceptions about it,” he said as he highlighted key provisions of the BOL covering the areas of governance, employment, resource-sharing, revenue collections, and peace and security.

Block Grant and Special Development Fund

Tan said among the major economic features of the BOL is the Block Grant, a 5 percent share of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) from the total national revenue collections of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

The fund, he said, will be automatically appropriated to the Bangsamoro government and will be reflected in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

“This will address underdevelopment in the region,” Tan said, emphasizing that under the new setup, the BARMM leadership “will no longer need to beg for funds from Congress” as what had happened during the past administrations.

Tan said aside from the Block Grant, the region will also be given a Special Development Fund that will enable conflict-affected communities in the area to catch up with their more progressive counterparts and partake of the benefits of economic growth.


On the concern of what will happen to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Tan said once the BOL is ratified by residents during the plebiscite in January 21, 2019, the ARMM will be replaced by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or BARMM.

“If they vote for yes, the ARMM will be abolished and become the BARMM,” he said, explaining the yes vote will have to be made by the region as whole. “But if they vote no, they will remain in the ARMM.”

The ARMM is composed of the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

With regards to the six municipalities in Lanao del Norte — Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagaloan, and Tangkal — which voted for their inclusion during the 2001 ARMM plebiscite, Tan said a majority “yes” vote to be cast by residents across the province is needed for these municipalities to become part of the BARMM.

A social contract

On the status of ARMM personnel, Tan gave assurance that current employees who will not be absorbed under the new government will be given the chance to re-apply.

Tan, however, stressed that these workers must be able to meet certain qualification standards for them to be considered for the position.

“We must remember that the BOL is not only a legal document but also a social contract as well,” he said.


On the issue of revenue sharing between the BARMM and national government for taxes collected in the region, Tan said it is going to be “70-30” arrangement in favor of the former.

But he said  for the next 10 years, the BARMM government will receive 100 percent of the region’s overall revenue collections.

In terms of revenue sharing from taxes collected on natural resources such as fossil fuels, it will be a “50-50” arrangement for both parties, he said.

Concerns on police, armed forces and Shariah courts

Contrary to some misconceptions, the BARMM government will not establish its own police and armed forces, Tan clarified.

“The defense of the state is lodged with the national government. The 1987 Philippine Constitution says that there will only be one national police and one armed forces,” he said.

With regards to fears that the Shariah Law will be strictly implemented across the region, Tan said the law will only apply to those who belong to the Muslim faith.

“This law (Shariah) only holds for offenses committed by members of the (Muslim) community,” he said. “Regular courts will continue to function.”

Managing expectations

For his part, Haron Meling, a commissioner of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, said the people will have to manage their expectations because the BOL will not provide an all-encompassing solution to all the challenges confronting the region.

“It (BOL) will not be a panacea even if implemented in the fullest. The (BARMM) government is not a magic wand,” Meling said.

He said over the years, the MILF leadership has focused on one primary goal and that is “to address the Moro problem.”

The passage of the BOL, Meling said, was therefore a major victory for the Bangsamoro people because it was a realization of their decades-long struggle to be recognized as a people.

In order for the region to achieve its full potential, he said people must unite and translate their aspirations into action.

“We have to plan and work hard to realize these dreams,” Meling said.

The “Columbian Experience”

At the same forum, Dr. Chetan Kumar, Senior Advisor on Peacebuilding to the UN and resident coordinator to UNDP-Philippines, said the “Colombian experience” offers a lot of insights on how peace agreements can be implemented and succeed.

“Many did not understand why the law was important to them,” he said.

“All the work you are doing should therefore inspire, make people better understand (the law),” he added. ###

By | October 10th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

New FMRs pave way for more access to basic services

SORSOGON, October 10, 2018 — Residents in Sorsogon now have easier access to basic social services as two farm-to-market roads (FMRs) were completed yesterday.

Rodolfo Fulo, the chair of Barangay Sta. Cruz, Barcelona, narrated how they were consistently challenged by the rough and muddy roads before the project was undertaken.

‘Pag umuulan, nawa-washout ang daan. Tapos ‘yong buhangin, duon naman sa baba. ‘Yong madadaanan ng jeep, duon lang din kami makakadaan. Minsan hindi pa makaakyat,” he said.

(Whenever it rained, the road would be washed out. Then the sand would collect at the bottom. We could only pass where the jeeps could pass. Sometimes we couldn’t even go up the road.)

He shared this during the handover ceremony of the FMR from barangay San Ramon to Sta. Cruz in Barcelona.

In a separate handover ceremony in the municipality of Gubat  for the FMR connecting barangays Nazareno to Rizal, Barangay Rizal chair Carlos Pura enumerated the benefits they gained after the completion of the project.

Malaking bagay sa amin ang pagkakaruon ng magandang daanan. Mapapabilis ang pagpapadala ng mga produktong mula sa bukid papunta sa bayan at mapapadali ang pang araw-araw na kabuhayan ng ating mga ka-barangay,” said Pura.

(Having a good road has been of great benefit to us. We can transport our products from the farm to the town much more quickly, and our daily lives have become more comfortable.)

In his remarks, Area Team Manager for South Luzon Paul Escober told the townspeople they do not need to thank the government for concreting roads in their areas.

Responsibilidad po ng gobyerno na ibigay ang basic services sa inyo, dahil galing din ito sa inyong buwis. Sa inyo po ang kalsadang ito,” he said.

(It is the responsibility of government to provide basic services to you because this comes from your taxes. This road belongs to you.)

PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) Director Sherwin Vizconde echoed the local chiefs’ sentiments in his remarks in both ceremonies.

Dahil dito [FMR] madali nang makapag-baba ng produce at higit sa lahat, para po ito sa mga anak natin na naga-aaral dahil hindi na nababasa o napuputikan ang mga sapatos o tsinelas nila,” he said.

(With FMRs, farmers can deliver their produce more easily. But more importantly, this is for our children who are studying. Now their shoes and slippers won’t have to get wet or muddied.)

The two FMRs were among the 2017 PAMANA projects under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) mounted in close coordination with concerned implementing agencies.

PAMANA is the national government’s convergence program that extends development interventions to isolated, hard-to-reach, and conflict-affected areas, ensuring that no one is left behind. ###

By | October 10th, 2018|News, PAMANA, PAMANA|0 Comments

Dureza: Good governance key to successful BOL implementation

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, October 10, 2018 — Good governance will be the key in the successful implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

This was underscored by Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza during the seminar workshop dubbed “Understanding Federalism in the Philippine Context” held yesterday at the VIP Hotel in this city.

Speaking to journalists from across Mindanao, Dureza said the main challenge confronting the future Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) government is finding the right leaders who will be able to translate the BOL’s vision into reality.

“We really need good, effective leaders to make this happen,” he said.

Dureza said no matter how good the law is, positive change will not take root unless the system of governance in the region becomes more dynamic and responsive to the needs of the people.

He said there is a need to capacitate upcoming local leaders who will be taking the reins of government once the BARMM is established.

This is the difficult part, Dureza said, as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the main proponents of the BOL, is still making the transition from being fighters to becoming leaders in the community.

“The question now is, who will be running the (BARMM) government? Are they capacitated?” he asked.

Dureza said he was pleased when the international donor community offered its assistance in helping train members of the MILF in the fundamentals of good governance.

“Their assistance will certainly go a long way in helping our MILF brothers become more effective leaders,” he said.

Dureza also emphasized the importance of inclusivity in local governance, saying it would be difficult to successfully implement initiatives under the new BARMM government if residents are not able to partake of the dividends of economic growth.

He said the region will also continue to lag in terms of development unless the delivery of basic services such as health, education, and infrastructure is improved.

“These are the triggers of conflict, when people feel that they are being deprived and their needs are not being addressed,” he said.

Dureza said this is the reason the national government is carrying out a whole-of-government approach in which the “nexus of peace and development” must always go together.

“Peace and development should happen simultaneously and not happen one after the other,” he said.

Dureza highlighted the critical role of media not only as chroniclers of events but as key influencers who can help amplify messages of peace, hope, and empowerment.

“This is the role of media. Your work is very important,” he said, challenging the journalists to use their pens and microphones to inform the general public – the “bigger peace table” – on pressing peace and development issues.

“Continue working because we need the help of media to address the bigger table. You have the passion to do that,” Dureza said.

The media forum was organized by the Philippine Press Institute in partnership with the Pimentel Institute for Governance and Leadership and the Hanns Seidel Foundation.  ###








By | October 10th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

UN Peacebuilding Fund: Sustaining the gains of peace and development

DAVAO CITY, October 6, 2018—The United Nations’ (UN) upcoming initiatives in Mindanao will focus on building the capacities of the youth and women and empowering them to become agents of peace and development.

This was among the highlights of the second Project Advisory Board Meeting of the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (UN PBF) attended by representatives from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNICEF, UN Women, and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) yesterday.

Youth as peacebuilders

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, who co-chairs the PBF Project Advisory Board with UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Ola Almgren, stressed the vital role of the youth in peacebuilding, particularly in the national government’s efforts to address the growing threat of violent extremism in the country.

“The youth is very critical in our work for peace,” Dureza said, pointing out that a large number of those recruited by terrorist groups during the Marawi siege were very young fighters.

He emphasized the need to provide young people, particularly those in conflict-affected areas, with the necessary skills that would enable them to make a living and consequently discourage them from joining extremist organizations.

“We need to give them (youth) the capacity to earn so they can avoid doing these foolish things,” Dureza said.

Sustaining the gains of peace

The PBF, dubbed “Enhancing Capacities for the Bangsamoro,” began its implementation in September 2017 through a partnership between the United Nations and OPAPP.

The fund’s main objectives are to create an enabling environment for the successful implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and develop the capacities of stakeholders to fight violent extremism and radicalization.

The PBF is designed to support government’s peacebuilding initiatives, which include the information and education campaign for the passage and ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), strengthening the convergence between the MILF and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and assisting in the transition from the present ARMM government to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

Engaging the youth

During meeting, Andrew Morris, chief of UNICEF’s Mindanao office, said it is the overall strategy of his agency to actively engage the youth in peace-promoting activities.

“This is something we would continue in the coming years, to get them involved in peacebuilding,” Morris said.

He said based on a recent study conducted by UNICEF, there are currently around 400,000 out-of-school youth in the ARMM.

Morris said the situation is worrisome in light of the current peace and security conditions in the region which are being exploited by radical groups.

He added that among the major concerns confronting the region’s youth are health, education, and employment.

He said this is the reason the UNICEF’s programs and projects are focused on providing much-needed services for the youth.

“We need to work at a larger scale to make an impact,” he said.

Morris said through UNICEF’s various programs, the agency hopes to reach out to about half a million youth in the region.

Increased role of women in community safety

For her part, Maricel Aguilar of UN Women reported that her organization has already reached out to 500 “diaspora” communities.

She said this is in line with the agency’s efforts to support a CAB-compliant Bangsamoro Organic Law in particular and the Bangsamoro peace process in general.

Aguilar said many of the women they have talked to still do not have a clear understanding of the BOL, especially on how its implementation will impact their respective communities.

“A lot of them don’t know what will be the implications of the law,” she said. “We need to reach out to these communities and influence them.”

Aguilar said UN Women is now closely working with civil society organizations in the region in order to boost their information dissemination campaign on the BOL and strengthen the role of women in community safety and civilian protection.

To date, they have trained 33 women speakers who will lead in legislative lobbying and conversations in diaspora communities.

“We hope to scale up our interventions,” she said.

Greater synergy

Dureza underscored the need for greater synergy and integration among the various peace stakeholders.

“We need to have a coherent network,” he said, noting that a lot of organizations are now helping the national government in its work for peace.

Dureza also lauded the international development community, particularly the United Nations, for helping to push forward the Duterte Administration’s peace and development agenda.

“Thank you very much for your help,” he said. “But there is still a lot of work ahead of us.”

In response, Almgren, UN’s resident coordinator in the Philippines, thanked OPAPP for giving his organization the opportunity to carry out its work in the Philippines.

“We are privileged for the partnership that we have,” he said.  ###\

By | October 6th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News, Partners for Peace|0 Comments

New partnership eyes creation of ASEAN Women’s group for peace work

PASIG CITY, October 4, 2018 – Women peace practitioners from various Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will be tapped to assist in the peace process and reconciliation efforts in the Philippines.

The project, dubbed “Symposium on the Establishment of an ASEAN Women for Peace Register (AWPR),” will develop a pool of experts from ASEAN Member States to be resource persons in assisting conflict management and conflict resolution activities.

Set to be conducted in December 2018, the symposium aims to gather nominated women experts who will share their knowledge and experiences in gender mainstreaming, capacity building, women’s achievements, and the promotion of respect for human dignity and human rights under the context of peace, reconciliation and conflict resolution.

It will also discuss the issues taken from the Joint Statement on Promoting Women, Peace and Security in ASEAN that was adopted last year during the 31st ASEAN Summit.

The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) solidifying the project implementation was signed today in this city.

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Jesus Dureza said he recognizes that women are not just victims of conflict but can also be active agents for peacebuilding and reconciliation.

Kailangan talaga natin ‘to (We really need this MOA) to institutionalize women participation,” he said.

Dureza also thanked ASEAN-Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (ASEAN-IPR) and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) for their efforts in making the project a reality.

“We (OPAPP) will only be there to monitor and provide support if needed, but the ball will be in your court so salamat,” he said.

For its part, ADMU assured OPAPP and ASEAN-IPR of its commitment in delivering the symposium project as the implementing partner.

“You can trust us on our cooperation and ability to deliver, and we can assure you that what we represent here will be run very well,” ADMU Vice President for Loyola Schools Dr. Maria Luz Vilches said.

The Permanent Mission of the Philippines to ASEAN is the lead proponent of the project, with an oversight function together with the OPAPP.

The MOA was signed by Dureza, Vilches, and Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Philippines to ASEAN and Representative to ASEAN-IPR Governing Council Elizabeth Buensuceso. ###

By | October 4th, 2018|NAPWPS, News|0 Comments

OPAPP, int’l partners continue to address root causes of conflict in Mindanao

Taguig City, October 3, 2018 — International Alert Philippines, one of the longstanding partners of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), is taking steps to identify and address the underlying roots of conflict in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

During the presentation of its 2017 report titled “War and Identity” on Tuesday at Bonifacio Global City, the group said shadow economies, particularly activities attributed to trade and use of illicit weapons and drugs, is the top reason for conflict with a total of 1,549 related reports in 2017.

Coming in second are identity issues with 1,224 related reports, while third are common crimes with 719 related reports.

Other causes were political, resources, and governance issues.

International Alert used Conflict Alert as its monitoring mechanism in tracking the incidence, causes, and human costs of violent conflict in the Philippines.

In his remarks at the presentation, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza underscored the importance of determining the factors that affect conflict and violence.

“I am glad that there is an effort to find out what are the real triggers of conflict. Many are analyzing it, but we cannot come up with solutions if we don’t know the root cause,” he said.

Dureza also lauded International Alert, saying its report could be of help in “improving ways on how to deal with peace efforts.”

OPAPP recently launched its Social Healing and Peacebuilding Program (SHAPE) to address the root causes of conflict in the vulnerable areas of Mindanao, particularly in Marawi City.

SHAPE promotes peacebuilding and reconciliation among the victims of conflict while addressing issues and concerns that might emerge following last year’s Marawi siege.

The program includes mainstreaming of conflict-sensitive and peace-promoting approaches in local development planning, welfare assistance to vulnerable entities, and college educational assistance project.

Also during International Alert’s presentation, World Bank Country Director Mara Warwick said the challenge of addressing the roots of conflict in Mindanao is among the top priorities of WB.

“We believe in its (Philippine Government) principle to ending the extreme poverty and achieving shared prosperity. Achieving these goals means continually shuffling our understanding of fragility and conflict in Mindanao,” Warwick said.

Clare Duffield, Counsellor for Political and Public Trade, extended the Australian Government’s commitment to support the Duterte administration on its work for peace.

“The challenge of bringing peace and development to Mindanao continues to grow but with reports such as this we can head in the right direction,” Duffield said. ###

By | October 3rd, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Champions weave aspirations for peace

PASIG CITY, October 02, 2018 – Knitting together the collective aspirations of peace from different stakeholders, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) unveiled on Friday its “Peace Quilt” in Davao City.

“Each piece of the quilt sewn together symbolizes the work we are doing in bridging and healing divides and mending the torn fabric of our society,” Assistant Secretary Rolando Asuncion said.

The Peace Quilt is a visualization of the various peace stakeholders’ commitment and how they will contribute to achieve these aspirations.

Civil society organizations, the academe, religious sector, local and international non-government organizations, and national and local government agencies contributed to the creation of the quilt, which was sewn together to form a much larger piece.

The Peace Quilt contains statements such as “The peaceful are the powerful” and “Peace through inclusive dialogues” as well as artworks and symbolisms representing indigenous groups, Moros, and Christians.

Messages of peace were also weaved into the quilt as a unique way of articulating the common goal of peace amidst diversity.

“The Peace Quilt is the people’s collective aspiration for a peaceful, secured, dignified and bountiful life,” Asuncion said.

The quilt formed part of the culmination of the month-long celebration of the National Peace Consciousness Month on September 28. This year’s theme was “Mithiing Kapayapaan, Sama-Samang Isakatuparan.” ###

By | October 2nd, 2018|Indigenous Peoples, News, Peace Month|0 Comments