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Dureza asks AFP to return P192.5M PAMANA fund

PASIG CITY, July 13, 2018 — Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza has asked the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to return P192.5 million that had been released in 2012 for road projects in Maguindanao under the PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) program but have remained unimplemented.
In a meeting on Tuesday, July 10, with AFP officials led by 52nd Engineer Brigade commander Brigadier General Dionisio Baudin Jr., Dureza pointed to the delays in the implementation of the P100-million concreting of the Lamud-Ganassi-Biarong road in the municipality of South Upi and the P150-million concreting of the Makir-Sibuto-Kinabaka road in the municipality of Datu Odin Sinsuat.
The projects were supposed to have been implemented in the previous administration starting July 2012, with the funds already being “downloaded” to the AFP.
With funding from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) released an initial amount of P192.5 million pesos for the implementation of the projects.
The original project amount of P250 million was not fully released due to the subsequent Supreme Court ruling declaring the DAP funds illegal.
When Dureza took over OPAPP in mid-2016, it was noted that the delays had caused serious concern among the peace constituents in the areas.
OPAPP wrote the AFP asking that the unused money be returned due to the considerable lapse of time and the possibility that the project cost now would vary from the program of work costs six years ago.
The AFP representatives called by Dureza to a meeting on July 10 concurred with his decision that the long unused amount be returned to the government coffers, without prejudice to securing future fresh funds based on the expected different costing due to the considerable lapse of about six years.
For his part, General Baudin said the AFP “will comply (with) whatever instruction is given to us.”
Due to the long delay, the unused funds would be classified as “unliquidated” funds by the Commission on Audit unless “returned”. ###
By | July 14th, 2018|News, PAMANA|0 Comments

CSOs laud granting of fiscal autonomy in BBL

Mandaluyong City, July 12, 2018 – The League of Bangsamoro Organizations lauded the Bicameral Conference Committee following the approval of provisions granting the Bangsamoro its fiscal autonomy.
Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives have been tackling the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) since July 9 to reconcile their respective versions of the law.
Yesterday, the legislators agreed to the 75-25 wealth-sharing term in favor of the Bangsamoro. This increases the share of the Bangsamoro in government tax revenues by 5 percent.
Currently, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is getting 70 percent of collection of a province or city from national internal revenue taxes, fees, and charges, as well as taxes imposed on natural resources.
Apart from this, panels from both chambers of Congress have agreed on the automatic allocation of the annual block grant for the Bangsamoro region. This is equivalent to five percent of the net national internal revenue of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Bobby Benito, speaking for more than 60 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) with a total of roughly 40,000 individual members, said the network of organizations joyfully welcomes the decision.
Kailangan talaga ‘yan kasi sa tingin namin isa ‘yan sa major problems – iyong fiscal autonomy – kung bakit nabe-behind kami sa neighboring areas,” Benito said in an interview.
(It is really needed because in our view, the lack of fiscal autonomy is one of the major reasons we are trailing behind our neighboring areas.)
“Pero ngayon, meron na kaming powers na mag-identify ng projects based on our needs. Iyong mga komunidad namin, sila na ang mag-decide kung magkano ang (ibibigay) na budget sa ganitong project. Mayroon kaming leeway, mayroon kaming autonomy to decide kung anong project ang developmental para sa amin,” he added.
(But now, we have the power to identify the projects based on our needs. Our communities will decide on how much budget will be allocated for such project. We have leeway, we have autonomy to decide what projects will be developmental for us.)
Benito also urged government and the legislators to trust the Bangsamoro people.
Sana magtiwala lang iyong government, iyong legislators na i-prove namin na we can govern, we can manage. Basta bigyan lang kami ng leeway,” he said.
(We hope the government and the legislators will trust us and allow us to prove that we can govern, we can manage. Just give us leeway.)
The bicameral committee is eyeing to present the reconciled version of the BBL to President Rodrigo Duterte before his coming State of the Nation Address on July 23. ###
By | July 12th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Pass stronger BBL, Bicam urged

QUEZON CITY, July 11, 2018 – Various civil society groups today appealed to the Bicameral Conference Committee to strengthen the provisions of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in adherence to the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people.
In an interfaith rally held at the EDSA Shrine just outside Crowne Plaza Hotel where members of the Senate and the House of Representatives are reconciling their respective versions of the law, the groups called for a BBL that is compliant with the peace agreements and one that will ensure peace and development in the region.
“Ang aming organization ay buong pusong sumusuporta sa kagandahan ng BBL at kabutihang madudulot nito sa Mindanao at buong bansa (Our organization wholeheartedly supports the BBL and the benefits it will give to Mindanao and the entire country),” Datu Al-Amer of 1taBangsa Peace and Peoples Organization said.
According to Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Lawyer Algamar Latiph, a stronger BBL will be beneficial not only to the region but the nation itself.
“Ito po ang magbibigay ng political at economic structure kung saan ang intensyon niya ay iaddress ang development at kapayapaan (This will give the political and economic structure needed to address issues of development and peace),” he said.
Latiph added that the enhanced power of the BBL will address the historical and structural injustices suffered by the people in the region.
“Kailangan natin itong power na sapat ngunit inaallow naman ng Constitution (We need these powers that are enough and are allowed by the Constitution),” he said.
The Bicameral Committee is now on its third day of deliberation of the proposed measure, which is expected to be ratified and signed into a law on July 23 by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte before he delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
By | July 11th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Congress to come up with ‘best version of BBL’

ORTIGAS, PASIG CITY, July 9, 2018 – First District Ilocos Norte Representative Rodolfo Fariñas today reaffirmed the commitment of the Bicameral Committee (BiCam) on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to “do the herculean job of coming up with a better and the best version of the bill.”
Fariñas reiterated the plan of the committee for both Chambers to ratify their respective versions on the 3rd regular session on July 23, the same day of the State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
President Duterte will then sign the bill into a law by afternoon of the same day.
Meanwhile, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said the result of the conference “will be the cornerstone towards a just, lasting, and dignified peace in the Bangsamoro.”
“The Bangsamoro Basic Law is an instrument of peace. Let this measure start the advent of peace and development to our beloved Mindanao,” he added.
Zubiri also reiterated the following guidelines on coming up with the best version of the BBL:
1. Constitutionality. Being the supreme law of the land, the Constitution sets both the latitude and the limitations of what can be incorporated in the basic law.
2. Autonomy. Within the limit set by the Constitution and other laws, the committee will give the widest latitudes in reconciling the two versions to achieve self-governance and real autonomy in the Bangsamoro.
3. Acceptability not only to the whole nation but more importantly to the people of the Bangsamoro. This law to become effective must be ratified in the plebiscite of the people of the Bangsamoro.
4. Social Justice. This law must correct the injustices and prejudices against our Muslim brethren. It will respect the opportunity in order to advance in life.
5. Peace and Development. Poverty incidence is high in Muslim Mindanao. The long-term objective of this law is to bring lasting and dignified peace in Muslim Mindanao and the Bangsamoro. Thus it is also an instrument of peace and development in the region.
The Bicameral Conference for the Bangsamoro Basic Law started today at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria., with lawmakers working to reconcile the Senate and House versions of the law.
Nine Senators and 18 members of the House of Representatives compose the Bicameral Conference Committee that will resolve the varying provisions of the House Bill No. 6475 and Senate Bill No. 1717.
By | July 9th, 2018|MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Dureza talks peace with Filipinos in New York

MANILA, April 27, 2018 – Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza showcased the inclusive approach of the government in peacebuilding during a briefing with the Filipino community at the Philippine Consulate in New York City yesterday.

Fresh from his speaking engagements during the high-level meeting on peace and sustaining peace at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, Secretary Dureza met with the group to underscore the importance of incorporating the public in the peace process.

“You have to address the bigger table. The bigger table is the public. Because even if I sign agreements with the smaller table (rebel groups), ‘pag hindi tinanggap ng publiko wala ding mangyayari (nothing will happen if the public does not accept it),” he said.

Citing the failure of the previous Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to be passed by Congress in 2016, Dureza said legislators vote for measures consistent with the sentiments of their constituents.

Aside from engaging the general public, the peace adviser also emphasized the need to continue the dialogue with rebel groups that already have peace agreements with the government.

Mayroon pa tayong mga nagrebelde sa gobyerno na tumalima na ngayon (There are a number of rebels who have now come back to the folds of the law). We cannot just leave them alone,” he said.

The government is currently working on the completion of the peace process with the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade and the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army/Cordillera Bodong Administration.

Dureza said in all the efforts the government is undertaking, there is also the need to improve the lives of the people affected by conflict.

“Our work for peace is not only negotiations now. It is also a nexus with development. Kailangan nating ma-improve ang lives ng mga tao sa mga areas na yan. Buong bayan sana kung pwede (We need to improve the lives of the people in those areas. The whole country if possible),” he said.  ###