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Galvez to BARMM police: Help in the transformation of Moro combatants

PARANG, MAGUINDANAO, April 17 2019 – Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. urged top police officials of the newly-established Bangsamoro autonomous region to help create a more conducive environment for the smooth implementation of the Normalization track of the Bangsamoro peace agreement.

This track, Galvez said, will primarily focus on the decommissioning of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants, and assist them and their families as they make the transition to becoming peaceful and productive members of society.

“With the successful ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) and the smooth transition of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), there is a need to understand the critical role of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the effective implementation of the normalization program in the Bangsamoro,” Galvez said, as he explained the content of the proposed Executive Order (EO) on the Normalization Process to police officers here at the BARMM Police Regional Office on Tuesday.

The Normalization Process is one of the annexes of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014.

The CAB has two tracks: the Political Track, which pushed for the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), and the Normalization Track, which covers the decommissioning of MILF fighters and their weapons, as well as the transformation of several camps into progressive and resilient communities.

The EO on Normalization is a comprehensive plan of the national government that is designed to aid former combatants as they undergo the delicate transition process.

In particular, the EO includes socio-economic interventions to be carried out specifically in conflict-affected areas, as well as guidelines for the implementation of a transitional justice system that aims to promote healing and reconciliation among the people.

The national government and the MILF are now drafting the implementing rules and regulations of the said EO.

According to Galvez, it is very important for the police, in particular, and the security sector, in general, to fully understand the intricacies of the Bangsamoro peace process.

He warned that a single miscalculation on their part could have a major impact on the region’s peace and security situation.

For this initiative to succeed, the chief peace adviser emphasized the importance of fostering stronger relationships with the MILF, especially with the ex-fighters.

“We should start to communicate and establish confidence–building measures, and good relationships with them,” Galvez said, adding that this process is very important in the successful mainstreaming of former combatants.

Galvez stressed that the Bangsamoro police will play a critical role in maintaining the peace and order in the region, especially in communities that will undergo the decommissioning process.

Under the EO, the PNP will be part of several transitional bodies. These include the Joint Peace and Security Teams, which will need at least 1,600 police personnel.

The teams will be tasked, among others, to clear unexploded ordnance and landmines.

Galvez said the police will also be part of the soon-to-be reactivated National Task Force for the Disbandment of the Private Armed Groups.

The BARMM regional police office, which is currently undergoing a transition, will soon cover the city of Cotabato, and the 63 barangays in North Cotabato that voted for their inclusion in the BARMM.

The conference attended by Galvez is among a series of strategic information campaigns intended for members of the security sector based in the Bangsamoro area.

Galvez was welcomed by BARMM Police regional director Brigadier General Graciano J. Mijares.

Also present in the activity were ASEC David Diciano, chief-of-staff of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU), OPAPRU Assistant Secretary Dickson Hermoso, and OPAPRU Director Wendell Orbeso, head of the Joint Normalization Committee Secretariat. ###

OPAPP delivers road projects in Agusan del Norte

Brgy. Bangayan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte, March 30, 2019 — Where the road begins, conflict ends.

This is how Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. described two newly-built road projects in the province that are helping to transform once conflict-affected areas into show windows of peace and development.

Galvez, together with Agusan del Norte Governor Maria Angelica Rosedell M. Amante-Matba and local officials, recently led the official turn-over of the Bangayan-Zapanta Valley Road and Tagbongabong-Kaularan-San Antonio Farm-to-Market Road to the beneficiary communities.

The two road projects, built under the national government’s PAMANA (PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn) initiative, aim to connect production areas to communities and market centers, and help spur economic development in the municipalities of Remedios T. Rumualdez (RTR) and Kitcharao, as well as surrounding communities in Agusan del Norte.

Boosting development in the countryside

In his remarks, Galvez emphasized OPAPP’s determined efforts to implement programs and projects that aim to address the needs of war-torn communities in the countryside and consequently, bring long-lasting peace and sustainable development in these areas.

“Ang mga okasyong tulad nito ay mahalaga para sa aming ahensya. Dito namin nakikita kung paano nakakatulong ang aming mga proyekto sa mga komunidad,” said Galvez, while emphasizing the need for local governments and residents to work hand in hand to improve the well-being of their communities.

(Occasions such as this are very important for our agency. This is where we see how our projects are helping communities.)

“Ito rin ang pagkakataon upang malaman namin kung paano pa mas mapag-iibayo ang paghahatid ng serbisyo sa mga lugar na higit na nangagailangan ng serbisyo ng gobyerno,” he added.

(This is also an opportunity for us to find out how we will be able to improve the delivery of services to areas that need government services.)

From battle zones to centers of trade

For many years, the town of Bangayan had been the sight of numerous armed confrontations between government troops and rebel forces. Residents referred to the barangay as a “battlefield” wherein scores of innocent lives had been lost.

Due to the community’s mountainous terrain, residents had to walk for almost six hours just reach the town center. Farmers found it very difficult to bring their produce to markets and had to pay for very high transport costs.

This was the same situation in Brgy. Tagbongabong where people had limited access to much-needed health, education and social services. Many felt they had been left out by government as they were unable to participate in community and livelihood activities.

With the completion of the two road projects, residents in the beneficiary communities which are mostly composed of the indigenous tribe Mamanwas, are starting to experience the dividends of development.  

The incomes of village folk have risen by around 30 to 40 percent because of greater mobility. Travel time which took hours before has now been reduced to 30 minutes. The number of student enrollees has also risen by 20 percent.

Moreover, residents are now able to take part in various livelihood programs offered by the government and private organizations. There has also been a noticeable increase in the number of sari-sari stores in the area, a sign of residents’ improved purchasing power.

Galvez underscored the positive impacts of these projects on beneficiary communities, particularly how they are contributing to development and peace-building efforts in conflict-affected areas across the country.

“Kami po ay magpapatuloy sa pagbuhos ng tulong at suporta dito sa Agusan del Norte,” he said.  

(We will continue to pour in assistance to Agusan del Norte.)

Galvez expressed his gratitude to the provincial and local governments of Agusan de Norte for fully supporting the projects, and the Armed forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police for securing the project and ensuring that they are completed in the soonest possible time. He also thanked the 402nd Infantry Brigade led by Col. Maurito Licudine and the 29th Infantry Battalion for participating in the projects’ planning phase and ensuring safety in the area during project implementation.

The peace adviser also gave his commitment that all PAMANA projects will be implemented with utmost transparency and accountability as directed by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

“These projects are a testament that genuine peace and development can be achieved if we unite and work together,” Galvez said.

PAMANA: A multi-pronged approach to peace and development

The two road projects are part of PAMANA’s multi-year implementation for 2017. In particular, they will benefit the communities of barangays Bangayan, San Antonio and Tagbongabong which have a combined population of 5,422.

These projects are designed to boost the trading of farm produce, facilitate the faster movement of people and goods, and provide increased access to basic services that will usher sustainable economic growth in remote, underdeveloped areas.

The second phase of the Tagbongabong-Kaularan-San Antonio farm-to-market road has a total project cost of Php 70 million, while the third phase of the Bangayan-Zapanta- Valley Road was built at a cost of Php60 million.

Both road projects boast of very high quality standards. They are equipped with slope protection, cross drainage and concrete line canals. The provincial government of Agusan del Norte was the PAMANA implementing partner for the projects.

Empowering communities

For her part, Amante-Matba reiterated that “government work is not an easy task” but with the help of residents and through the leadership of tribal leaders, “we can implement projects such as these that will help empower families, barangays and communities”.

“Nandito kami kasi hindi kami mga kalaban. Gusto naming lahat na tayo ay sama-sama sa kapayapaan at kaunlaran,” the governor said, adding these projects will benefit both the provincial government and its constituents.

(We are here because we are not enemies. We want you to be to our partners in peace and development.)

During earlier community-based consultations, stakeholders in Agusan Del Norte identified several factors which restrained the province from achieving its full economic potential such as poor roads and the insufficient delivery of basic government services.

PAMANA, which is under the oversight of OPAPP, is a peace and development program that aims to bring the government closer to the people through the provision of much-needed socio-economic projects and services in far-flung, conflict-affected areas.

These include the construction of farm-to-market roads, potable water systems, power lines, as well as basic health and school facilities.

PAMANA also implements other support programs for indigenous peoples (IP) such as the delineation of Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADTs), formulation of Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plans (ADSPP), and the provision of scholarships and other social security guarantees.

From 2012 to 2018, the PAMANA program has benefitted 11 municipalities in Agusan del Norte by reducing vulnerabilities, improving local governance practices, and empowering communities.###

Putting weapons beyond use: Former fighters and their families now ready for decommissioning

Babu Psung, 60, from Sultan Sa Barongis, Maguindanao, was among the hundreds of Bangsamoro residents who witnessed the inauguration of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao yesterday. She is the wife of a grizzled MILF combatant.

In an interview, she shared her journey from being a perennial evacuee or “bakwit” of armed conflict to becoming a catalyst of peace and development. She attributes this life-changing transformation to the gains of the peace process.

Babu Psung recalled how she and her family lived in constant fear of when the next armed conflict will break out in the community. She had never gotten used to the sound of gunfire although her husband had been a combatant long before they were married.

This is the reason why she could not hold back her tears when she learned that her family will finally be leaving behind a dark chapter in their lives.

With the formal decommissioning of her husbands and thousands of MILF fighters, she believes that the Bangsamaoro people can look ahead to a brighter future.

Natuntayan nami dn sa noget den a nyabay (decomissioning) na ipedtagu dn su mga tambak ka di ren penggamiten; dikna ip’d-surender uged na ip’dtagu,”she said when asked how she felt about the decommissioning process.

(We already learned that this (decommissioning) will put weapons beyond use. This is not to surrender them but just to set them aside.)

Asked about her expectations on how the next steps of the process will affect them, she answered, “Nya katundug na kabagenggay sa mga project a para sa tanan. Dikna maya ipendwal bu isa-isa uged a project a magamit nu madakel para sa uyag-uyag.”

(The next phase is the implementation of projects for all. These are not dole outs but livelihood projects that will benefit everyone.)

In conclusion, she said her whole family and the rest of their community fully support the Normalization Track, adding they are ready and excited for the decommissioning process to begin.

Former fighters: We are ready

Meanwhile, among the combatants who are set to undergo the decommissioning process is Bapa Imam, 60, who became a combatant since the Martial Law era.

Imam recounted the hardships he and his comrades experienced during the decades-long armed struggle.

Mabagel ged i kab’ng-gyera sa’ntu a timpu, malegen i natala name,” he said.

(Battles were intense during those times. It was a hard time for us.)

When asked on how he felt that the Bangsamoro people have achieved their long held dream of genuine and meaningful self-governance and will be part of the decommissioning process, he said, “Nya nami ganggiginawa samaya na gapyay ginawa nami sa nasampay nami pan inya.”

(We feel genuinely happy that we are able to witness [these milestones].)

Imam concluded by expressing the collective aspirstions of the combatants to be decommissioned: “Kab’nggobyerno anya na mana bun ig – u malebug sa pulu na malebug bun taman sa baba. Pangeni-Ngenin ta na mapya i proseso ka ‘ndu malingaw i katamanan.”

(Governance can be compared to running water; fuzzy water upstream leads to fuzzy water downstream. Let us pray that clear processes will guide us along the way.)

Normalization Track: Sustaining the gains of peace and development

The major components under the Normalization Track are security, socio-economic development, confidence-building and Transitional Justice and Reconciliation.

The Joint Normalization Committee (JNC), which is under the oversight of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), will oversee the conduct of activities under the Normalization Track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

The CAB was signed by the Philippine Government and the MILF  in 2014, which ended more than four decades of armed conflict in Mindanao. ###

By | March 30th, 2019|Features, MILF|0 Comments

PRRD leads BARRM inauguration

COTABATO CITY, March 29, 2019 – With a bang of a gong, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Friday officially inaugurated the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) inside the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex.

The BARMM is an offshoot of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) last February that the President himself campaigned for.

“May I just express in front of you my extreme happiness. It gives me the high that we were able to realize at least a part of what the entire country have wished for the Bangsamoro in Mindanao,” Duterte said referring to the Bangsamoro government at the ceremony.

The President’s statement generated thunderous applause from the audience inside the theater-like complex.

Duterte said he trusts the leaders of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the interim government, to work for the “succeeding generations of the Filipinos especially the Moros in Mindanao.”

“As we enter the transition period, I ask everyone to work towards building lasting peace and inclusive progress that will benefit all Mindanaons and entire country,” the President said.

“As we mark a new chapter in our history I call upon all Bangsamoro to take advantage of this opportunity and finally correct the historical injustice and forget the bitterness of the past so that we embrace each other as Filipinos,” he emphasized.

Before the President ended his speech, he reiterated the promise he made during his last visit in Cotabato City during the campaign for the BOL.

“My solemn promise to you is a sacred one which I also promised to Allah. In my term and for the next three years, we will work and truly work for the benefit of the Bangsamoro,” he said.

On Friday, the members of the BTA conducted their maiden session with the election of a new set of officers of the BARMM.

The BTA elected former Lanao del Sur Congressman Ali Pangalian Balindong as the speaker of the interim parliamentary-form government, while Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Hatimil Hassan was voted as the deputy speaker.

Lanang Ali, Jr. and former executive secretary of the ARMM Laisa Masuhud Alamia were elected as majority and minority floor leader respectively.

The BTA also named Raby Angkal as secretary-general and Dan Dimakenal as sergeant-at-arms.

Al Hajj Ahod Ebrahim or better known as Murad Ebrahim, the interim chief minister, emphasized the five pillars that the BTA will work on under his leadership. These are education, health, economic development, strategic infrastructure, and moral leadership.

“We shall prioritize the approval of the transition plan that will define the organizational structure of the BARMM and gradual phasing out of the offices,” he said in his inaugural speech.

The chief minister said the ceremony marks a history for the Bangsamoro people with a “new kind of jihad–a jihad against poverty, against want, and against neglect.”

“When we started the revolution, we took an oath to the Quran. Today, as we start our governance, we will also do the same,” Ebrahim said as he led the BTA members in an oath on the holy Quran.

Ebrahim said they have been “guided in our armed struggle by the tenets of Islam. We will also be guided by the teaching of Islam in delivering the trust that has been given to us.”

“To run the Bangsamoro Government through the brand of leadership Islam advocates–that is moral governance,” he noted.

“It signifies our collective resolve to institute good governance in the Bangsamoro Region,” he said, adding that “as we start the Bangsmaoro government, we vow to make moral governance as the foundation of this leadership.”

Ebrahim said they will also continue the fight against illegal drugs.

In a statement, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. said five years after the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), “the Moro and non-Moro people in the new autonomous region are now gradually enjoying the peace dividends from the said agreement.”

“At the heart of the peace agreement is the transformation process, which covers not only the establishment of the BARMM, the creation of a new political structure, and the changing of the lives of the people in the area, but also providing social justice, healing, and reconciliation,” he said.

“The Bangsamoro is now undergoing a renaissance period. A new dawn has finally emerged in the region,” he added

The Peace Adviser noted that the only way to truly bring to life the CAB is for everyone to “be on board the peace process and contribute to the success of all the signed Bangsamoro peace agreements.”###

By | March 30th, 2019|MILF, MNLF|0 Comments

Statement of Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr on the Inauguration of the Bangsamoro Parliament

Five years after the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the Moro and non-Moro people in the new autonomous region are now gradually enjoying the peace dividends from the said agreement.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) which sets the legal foundation of the CAB, had been passed and ratified by the people. As an offshoot, a new autonomous region called the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is now in place, with a wider territory and with a stronger political structure reflective of the genuine sentiments of the inhabitants of the area.

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the interim government, is now working under the leadership of the Moro revolutionary leaders and dedicated stakeholders.

On Friday, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will witness the official inauguration of the new parliamentary form of government in the Bangsamoro. Equally important, the President will also witness the official handover of the list of the MILF combatants who will be decommissioned and their weapons that will be put beyond use under the normalization track of the signed peace agreement.

Soon, the people who have felt the brunt of decades of armed conflict will be undergoing holistic transformation.

At the heart of the peace agreement is the transformation process, which covers not only the establishment of the BARMM, the creation of a new political structure, and the changing of the lives of the people in the area, but also providing social justice, healing, and reconciliation.

The Bangsamoro is now undergoing a renaissance period. A new dawn has finally emerged in the region.

As we move forward, let us not forget the martyrs in this struggle, the men and women who made this change possible. They made the ultimate sacrifice for the achievement of the milestones and developments the people in the new autonomous region will avail.

I encourage everyone to be on board the peace process and contribute to the success of all the signed Bangsamoro peace agreements. In this way we can truly bring to life  the true meaning of the CAB.###

By | March 29th, 2019|MILF, MNLF|0 Comments

Full medical attention being provided to Fernandez, wife – Galvez

March 29, 2019 – Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. assured on Thursday that National Democratic Front (NDF) consultant Francisco “Frank” Fernandez and his wife Cleofe Lagtapon are being given full medical attention following their arrest on March 24 in Liliw, Laguna.

“I visited the two in the Army General Hospital (AGH) yesterday, and the Philippine Army is providing them the best medical care that they need,” the peace adviser said.

“They also have dedicated nurses to ensure that their medical needs are attended round the clock,”he added.

Fernandez, 71, and Lagtapon, 66, were nabbed along with Ge-Ann Perez, 20, by combined operation of the police and the Army last Sunday and were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives, and violation of the election gun ban.

The NDF consultant is also facing four warrants for murder and multiple murder.

Galvez also debunked the claims of human rights group Karapatan in a statement that the couple, along with another arrested NDF consultant Renante Gamara, are being denied access to their legal counsel.

“What they are saying is a brazen lie. I can attest that the couple were able to meet their lawyers. They can always seek guidance from them. We also assure the couple that we will respect their rights,” he said.

The peace adviser guaranteed that the government will respect and follow the couple’s right to due process. ###

By | March 29th, 2019|CPP-NPA-NDF, News|0 Comments

Galvez: Peace agreement with RPA-ABB, a model for localized peace engagements

Jamindan, Capiz, March 26, 2019 –  Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. underscored on Tuesday that the government’s agreement with the Rebolusyonaryong Partido Ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade-Tabara Paduano Group (RPM-P/RPA-ABB-TPG) is a successful example of the localized peace engagements being advocated by the government. 

During the dialogue with the RPM-P/RPA-ABB-TPG/Kapatiran para sa Progresibong Panlipunan (KAPATIRAN) in this municipality, Galvez noted that the transition plan to be implemented by the government is part of the Whole-of-Nation approach under the EO 70 directive of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to end local communist insurgency and attain inclusive and sustainable peace. 

KAPATIRAN is an organization composed of members of the RPM-P/RPA/ABB-TPG, which signed a peace agreement with the government in 2000. 

“Sa mga meetings and engagements ko noong nakaraang araw, partikular na ang mga tungkol sa EO 70, lagi kong hinahalimbawa ang pakikipag-usap sa inyong grupo bilang produkto ng tagumpay ng localized peace engagements,” he said. 

(In my recent meetings and engagements, particularly about the EO 70, I always cite our dialogues  with your group as a product of the success of localized peace engagements.)

The peace adviser also said that the success of the implementation of the RPM-P/RPA-ABB-TPG’s various programs can be replicated in the ongoing localized peace engagements with the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and partner national government agencies will be working together on the realization of a three-year plan for the development of RPM-P/RPA-ABB-TPG’s communities and the transformation of its members into productive members of the society. 

“Once na nabigay na ang lahat ng nakapaloob sa agreement, pipirma tayo ng exit agreement by end of 2021 or by early 2022, bago po matapos ang termino ng ating Presidente,” Galvez said. 

(Once we fulfill all components of the agreement, we will be signing an exit agreement by end or 2021 or by early 200, before the President’s term ends.)

During his visit to Negros Occidental last March 8, Galvez said OPAPP has already allocated around Php 500 million in line with the transition plan, which includes social protection programs, capacity development, livelihood and employment assistance, housing assistance and financial assistance to 727 former combatants and their families. 

These programs will support the five components of the Clarificatory Implementing Document (CID), namely: Disposition of Arms and Forces (DAF) and Security Arrangements; Social and Economic Reintegration of the RPMP/RPA/ABB-TPG/KAPATIRAN; Release of the remaining Alleged Political Offenders; Transformation of the members into civilian organization engaging in socio-economic and political activities; and Community Peace Dividends.

The peace adviser noted that the assistance to be given to beneficiaries is part of President Duterte’s commitment to honor all peace agreements during his administration. 

“Napakahalaga na hindi lang natatapos sa isang pirmahan ang usaping pangkapayapaan. Hangarin namin ang pangarap ng ating pangulo na mabigyan kayo ng magandang buhay,” he said. 

(The peace process doesn’t end in the signing of an agreement. We also want to fulfill the President’s dream of giving you a better life).

Joint body overseeing CID implementation pledges support to the transition 

The members of the Joint Enforcement and Monitoring Committee (JEMC), the five-member body tasked to oversee and monitor the implementation of the commitments under the CID has pledged to work hand in hand to fast-track the implementation of the document’s various components. 

Department of National Defense (DND) Undersecretary Cesar Yano assured members of the KAPATIRAN that the government will accelerate the development and delivery of government services. 

“What’s important is action. We assure you that we will work very fast” Yano said. 

Meanwhile, Veronica Tabara, chairperson of the KAPATIRAN, committed that her group will fulfill all their commitments under the disposition of firearms and forces component of the CID. 

Tabara said she will also ensure the “full transformation” of her group’s members. 

“We will continue to help the people and government for us to attain lasting peace in our communities,” she said in Hiligaynon. 

Aside from Yano and Tabara, other members of the JEMC are OPAPP consultant Milo S. Ibrado Jr., Mr. Ramel Farol of KAPATIRAN, and Pastor Noel Villarba as third party representative.

Also present during the event were Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 3rd Infantry Division Commander, Maj. Gen. Dinoh Dolina who committed the 3rd ID’s support for future activities and initiatives of the group; AFP Peace and Development Office Chief BGen. Cesar De Mesa and Philippine National Police (PNP) Peace Process and Development Office Head Chief Supt. Gerardo Rosales.

Abang-Lingkod Party-list representative Stephen Paduano also graced the gathering where he reiterated his support for the conclusion of the peace process with former RPMP/RPA/ABB-TPG comrades. ###

By | March 26th, 2019|CPP-NPA-NDF, News, RPM-P/RPA/ABB|0 Comments

Whole-of-Nation approach to resolve decades of insurgency

Jamindan, Capiz March 25, 2019 – Ending decades of communist insurgency and attaining inclusive and sustainable peace in the country can be achieved through the concerted efforts of national and local government agencies, local government units, sectoral groups, and the military, Armed of Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal Jr. said on Monday.

During the Whole-of-Nation commitment activity held in this municipality, Madrigal expressed optimism the armed conflict between the national government and the rebel group will find closure under the term of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. 

“Confident tayo lalong lalo na with the creation of National Task Force (to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) kung lahat tayo ay magkakaisa, magsasama-sama, dahil sabi nga hindi lang military ang makakasagot ng problema na ito. Lahat tayo,” he said. 

(We are confident especially with the creation of National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict if we all unite. The military cannot resolve this alone. All of us.)

At the event organized by the 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (3ID PA),  the representatives from the government and various sectors pledged their commitment to end the communist insurgency in Western Visayas through the Whole-of-Nation approach.

The said approach is anchored on Executive Order 70 issued by President Duterte in December 2018 which seeks to put an end to the armed conflict with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

Through this multi-pronged strategy, the government will prioritize and harmonize the delivery of basic services and social development packages in conflict-affected and conflict-vulnerable communities, facilitate societal inclusivity, and ensure active participation of all sectors of society in pursuit of the country’s peace agenda.

According to Madrigal, local government units will play a key role in the success of this approach. 

“Pinakamahalaga ang mga local chief executives dahil kailangan magkaroon ng mga champions sa pagpapatupad nito. Sabi nga natin sa mga areas kung saan maganda ang resulta ng ating counter-insurgency efforts, mga local chief executives talaga ang namuno,” Madrigal said. 

(The most important component in this effort are the local chief executives because they are the champions in its implementation. In the areas where the results of our counter-insurgency efforts are successful, they were led by our local chief executives.)

The NPA has been conducting guerilla-styled warfare in the countryside for almost 50 years with the aim of setting-up a socialist form of government by overthrowing the democratically-elected one.

For the past 32 years and over several administrations, the national government and the communist group have held intermittent negotiations but have not produced a peace deal. 

In his message during the event, Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity Carlito Galvez Jr. said his office aims to replicate the gains of the Bangsamoro peace process in the implementation of the local peace engagements. 

“Ang MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) at MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front), hindi po kami magiging successful kung national level lang po ang aming pag-uusap,” he said. 

(Our talks with the MILF and MNLF will not be successful if we limited our talks in the national level.)

Galvez explained that by engaging local actors of conflict, critical peace and security issues on the ground will be better addressed. 

On March 26, the peace adviser will be having a dialogue with the leadership of Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas Revolutionary Proletarian Army – Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP/RPA/ABB-TPG) to craft the multi-year transition plan which will transform their former members into active and productive members of the society.

Galvez also said that with his office’s expanded scope of work, it will help “break the generational chain of violence through peacebuilding, reconciliation, and unity.”

Meanwhile, Major General Dinoh Dolina, Commander of the 3ID operating in the Visayas region, attributed the increasing number of rebels in the region coming back to the folds of law to the holistic approach in supporting the communities mired by conflict. 

“Kaakibat namin ang iba’t ibang mga government agencies to really address kung ano ang mga problema na nakikita namin upang mabigyan ng agarang solusyon,” he said. 

(We are partnering with different government agencies to really address the problems we are seeing to be given an immediate solution). 

Ilonggos back Whole-of-Nation approach 

 In a message delivered by Maria Lourdes Miado on behalf of Western Visayas National Economic and Development Agency (NEDA) Regional Director Ro-Ann Bacal, the latter called for unity among the people to achieve sustainable peace in the region. 

“Along with other developing countries, our country long for genuine peace and sustainable development. But peace and development in our country, and our region in particular, will remain elusive unless we work together as one,” Bacal said. 

For her part, Western Visayas Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Regional Director Ma. Evelyn Macapobre echoed Bacal’s sentiments, noting that other government agencies aside from the military can also contribute in the work for peace. 

“We work to achieve peace using our ballpens, using our talents, and doing the best that we can to deliver government services,” she said.  

Meanwhile, Archbishop of Capiz Jose Advincula, represented by Father Cyril Villareal, threw the Catholic church’s full support behind the government’s peace efforts. 

“Undeniably, the Whole-of-Nation approach to attain peace is very much aligned with the church’s vision to attain peace.” he said.

By | March 25th, 2019|CPP-NPA-NDF, News, RPM-P/RPA/ABB|0 Comments

GRP Panel to be reconstituted for holistic localized peace engagements

PASIG CITY, March 20, 2019 – The termination of appointments of the members of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) Negotiating Panel will pave the way for the creation of an inclusive panel that will supervise localized peace engagements, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Wednesday.

According to Galvez, the composition of the new panel will be based on the Colombian model which includes representatives from different sectoral groups, local government units, and the military whose presence are essential to the peace negotiations.

“The discontinuance of the services of the members of the GRP panel is in line with the termination of peace talks with the NDFP (National Democratic Front Panel). But we will reconstitute the panel at a national scope in accordance with the whole-of-nation approach we are advocating to achieve inclusive and sustainable peace,” he said.

As contained in a letter from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea addressed to the GRP panel members, their services were officially terminated by the Office of the President last March 18, Monday.

The peace talks between the government and NDFP, which represents the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), has been intermittent since it began in 1986.

From 2016, there has been four rounds of talks between the two parties, but the formal negotiation was terminated along with Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) through Proclamation 360 by President Rodrigo Duterte on November 2017 because of intensified NPA offensives on government forces and private installations.

“For 32 years, we didn’t gain anything from the talks, and it is being used by the CPP-NPA as a leverage for them to strengthen their forces and take advantage of the sincerity of the government,” Galvez noted.

Galvez said that President Duterte has ordered the review of past agreements with the NDFP.

“That is why we are temporarily suspending the implementation of The Hague Joint Declaration and Comprehensive Agreement for the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws (CARHRIHL) until they are fully evaluated by the Office of the President,” he said.

LGUs: Vital partners in peace engagements

The peace adviser also stressed that the participation of the local government in the peace engagements is essential in resolving social issues that have been the root causes of the decades-old insurgency.

“OPAPP and other national government agencies will pour in its resources in support of our local chief executives and local peace bodies in their facilitation of their engagements and interventions,” he said.

In December 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte issued EO 70 which institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach in attaining peace and created a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

During his visit in Negros Occidental last March 8, the peace adviser committed to provide assistance packages to former members and families of Revolutionary Proletarian Army – Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB) as well as ex-NPA rebels.

“The EO 70 is very effective in ensuring the delivery of services and social development packages to everyone affected by conflict. We are very confident that the insurgency and its causes will be addressed and resolved under the current administration,” he said.

By | March 20th, 2019|CPP-NPA-NDF, News, RPM-P/RPA/ABB|0 Comments

Galvez to Bangsamoro communities in the Metro: “BARMM is for everyone”

QUEZON CITY, March 20, 2019 – The beauty of the newly-established Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) lies in its principle of inclusiveness and goal of serving the best interests of the Moro people regardless of where they are residing in the country.

(more…)

By | March 20th, 2019|MILF, MNLF, NAPWPS, News|0 Comments
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