Empowering communities through infrastructure

BRGY. MACASANDAG, PARANG, MAGUINDANAO (August 20, 2019)  — Infrastructure boosts incomes, creates more and better economic opportunities, and empowers communities.

This is becoming a reality for the residents of this agriculture-based barangay after receiving a Level III Water Supply System under the national government’s PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) initiative. (more…)

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.

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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. ###

PAMANA projects to boost Camarines Norte development

LABO, Camarines Norte, October 5, 2018 – The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) lauded the local and national government for working together to implement projects that benefit their constituents in conflict-affected areas.

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National Peace Consciousness Month: Stories of hope, courage, and peace-building

DAVAO CITY (October 1, 2018) — For 15 young members of the Ata Manobo tribe, the culmination program of National Peace Consciousness Month on September 28 was both a day of celebration and of mourning.

With Davao City hosting the event, the scholars of the national government’s Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) Program being implemented by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) came down from the hinterlands of Talaingod, Davao del Norte to tell their story.

Garbed in traditional dress, they stood teary-eyed onstage at the Rizal Park as they sang in their native language their gratitude to the national government for the assistance it had given them.

They also paid tribute to a fallen comrade, the 16th scholar who was abducted and killed by unidentified assailants after delivering rice to a military camp.

According to friends and relatives, he was a responsible, hard-working lad who dreamed of giving his family a better life.

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza was highly emotional while narrating the unfortunate incident to more than 600 people attending the event.

“(This was) done by a group that has no objective but to sow fear and terror in the hearts (of people),” Dureza said.

“It shows the extent of what those who want to create trouble would go just to make their point clear,” he added.

Dureza, however, said the passing of the young man should not dishearten people but instead serve as an inspiration to all.

This was exactly what the 15 remaining PAMANA scholars did: despite the painful loss of their friend, they still proceeded with their trip to Davao City to participate in the Peace Month celebration.

“They did not surrender their ground. They are examples of what every citizen should do,” Dureza said.

“They are the inspiration we should all (emulate). They are the future,” he added.

Dureza said the task of addressing the various peace and security challenges confronting the nation should not be the sole responsibility of government.

“We in government can’t do this alone. We can provide the leadership, we can create a convergence of efforts, but ultimately, the people out there will have to do it,” he said.

In order to bring about this synergy of efforts among stakeholders, Dureza said he seeks guidance from no less than President Duterte who named him Presidential Peace Adviser more than two years ago.

“President Duterte’s first marching order to us at OPAPP when he assumed office was for us to do a peace and development roadmap,” he said.

Dureza said the roadmap would serve as the “nexus” of the Duterte administration’s Peace and Development Agenda.

He noted that the work for peace should not be confined to peace negotiations with the various rebel groups and addressing security issues, saying that is “only half of the job.”

“The other, bigger, more important part is development. We cannot sustain peace if we don’t have development that will improve the lives of people,” Dureza said.

“Conversely, we cannot sustain development even if we provide a lot of assistance. If there is conflict, nothing will happen,” he added.

Dureza emphasized that peace and development “must happen simultaneously” and not take place one after the other.

Moreover, he said the government must not only focus on the signing of peace agreements but, more importantly, look at the triggers of conflict.

“Let us analyze. Why are there a lot of people rebelling against government? Some of them… their children don’t go to school… they are poor. They feel they are looked upon as enemies,” Dureza said.

He noted that most of those who are engaged in armed struggle are not motivated by ideology but by their current economic conditions.

“They feel that their needs are not being attended to, that they have been forgotten,” Dureza said.

He said this is the rationale behind the whole-of-government approach wherein all national government agencies are closely working with each other to provide socio-economic services particularly to residents in remote and underdeveloped areas.

“The whole-of-nation approach of government is that…they (agencies) are all converging together,” Dureza said.

“We have to work together to have sustainable peace and development,” he added. ###

Dureza urges Surigao del Norte rebels to return to civilian life

Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte, August 28, 2018 — Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza today urged local rebels here to stop fighting so that development can continue in the area.

Ang gusto ng ating Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte, kung pwede ‘di na tayo mag-away. ‘Di na tayo magpatayan. Magkaisa na tayo (What President Rodrigo Roa Duterte wants is for us to stop fighting. Let’s stop killing each other. Let’s be united instead),” Dureza said in his message at the inauguration of the LASICAM Bridge in Barangay Sico-Sico on Tuesday.

Magbalik na kayo nang bukal sa inyong puso. Malaki ang suporta sa inyo ng Presidente (Come back to the folds of the law wholeheartedly. The President is giving you a lot of support),” he added.

The bridge passes through the three barangays of Lahi, Sico-Sico, and Camam-onan in the Municipality of Gigaquit — known stronghold corridors of local insurgents in Surigao del Norte for decades.

The project will benefit more than 3,000 residents by giving them access to socio-economic services carried out by the national and local government. The bridge will also give local farmers and residents better access to market sites.

Dureza said the bridge is part of government’s emphasis on working on peace and development simultaneously.

“You cannot sustain peace if you do not improve the lives of people. Conversely, you cannot also sustain development without peace. Dapat iyan, hand-in-hand,” he said.

For her part, Surigao del Norte Governor Sol Matugas extended her gratitude to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) for funding the project through the 2015 PAyapa at MAsaganang  PamayaNAn (PAMANA) Program – calling the completed project “Bridge of Hope” (Tulay nan Paglaum).

Itong tulay ang magsisilbing daan para sa mga bisita. Maraming mga proyekto ang darating upang ang mga nakatira dito ay maging mapayapa at masagana (This bridge will serve as the way for visitors. Many projects will be brought here so that residents can live in peace and prosperity),” Matugas said.

Speaking on behalf of the Mamanwa Tribe within the community, Datu Emilliano Jede recalled how their people endured walking for one whole day just to reach the town proper.

“Dati, pag papunta kaming bayan, magkalakad kami nang isang araw. Ngayon, dahil may kalsada na, sandali lang makakarating na kami sa bayan (We used to spend a whole day walking to the town. With this road, we can reach it in a short time),” Jede said.

All in all, a total of P210 million was allocated for the implementation of the project. OPAPP tapped the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) as implementing partner.

The inauguration, which coincided with the launch of Caraga Peace and Development Zones that includes Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur, attracted nearly 300 attendees, including locals from Barangay Sico-sico and representatives from OPAPP, DILG, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the local government units. ###

Dureza lauds DAP’S planned course on peace

PASIG CITY, August 15, 2018 – Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza today discussed ways to promote peace and development in Mindanao at the ‘Kartilya’ forum organized by the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP).

In his speech, Dureza said one of these is the planned development of a “peace course” that will be taught by DAP.

He said he himself is interested in attending the course because of the academic perspective it can offer.

Dureza also underscored the importance of sustaining peace and development side-by-side, saying every Filipino will benefit from the relative peace the government continuously pursues.

“The Duterte peace and development paradigm must go hand-in-hand and not one after the other. While we are trying to work on peace, you also notice that there is also a lot of things to work on in economic development,” he said.

Dureza expressed confidence in DAP’s capacity to assist the government in providing technical assistance relation to Mindanao’s development.

“DAP is one of the institutions that can make things happen – things that are still being discussed theoretically but that DAP is (already) trying to put into action,” he said.

Also speaking during the forum, Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Alonto said the local governments should be the leading agents in Mindanao’s advancement.

“Development must start from the leaders of communities, particularly the local government,” he said.

In his message, DAP President Engelbert Caronan Jr. commended the progress that Mindanao has gone through.

“There is little understanding how a transition can affect the whole country. We (DAP) realize how far Mindanao has come and how far it still needs to go. We can do more,” Caronan said.

The Kartilya forum was aimed at starting discussions on emerging issues and prospects that could be developed in Mindanao, particularly on the next steps forward after the signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law. ###

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”. ###

Locals execs express gratitude for PAMANA projects

DIPOLOG CITY, July 04 2018 – Local government units of Zamboanga del Norte thanked the national government for implementing projects in their communities that are focused on livelihood and poverty alleviation.
Sibuco Mayor Norbideiri Edding affirmed this during the Midterm Assessment of PAMANA (PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn) projects conducted by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) with its stakeholders in the province of Zamboanga del Norte last July 3, 2018.
Malaking bagay talaga ang naitutulong nito [PAMANA] sa communities — sa’min sa grassroots level – kasi more on poverty alleviation programs and livelihood siya (PAMANA has a huge impact on our communities – on us who are at the grassroots level – because its projects are more on poverty alleviation and livelihood),” Edding said.
Nagpapasalamat kami sa (We thank) OPAPP that we were included because we need all the help we can get as far as developing our communities is concerned,” he added.
Edding also thanked the government’s initiative to include all stakeholders in the assessment because it gave them the opportunity to discuss their issues regarding the project implementation.
“Our objective is to provide alleviating programs para sa mga conflict-affected na constituents natin (Our objective is to provide alleviating programs for our conflict-affected constituents),” he said.
“So these programs are really helping our communities. And ‘yong mga insurgents natin na nando’n sa kabilang side, they were given the chance to change and be reintegrated with the communities,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mayor Gamar Janihim from the municipality of Sirawai cited an example of how the PAMANA projects had positive impacts in his communities.
Ipalagay mo na lang ‘yong communal irrigation, imbis na ‘yong ani ng mga farmers ay isa sa isang taon, dahil sa irrigation magiging apat na sa isang taon. So malaki talaga ang nadudulot ng PAMANA projects sa community (Let’s cite communal irrigation as an example: our farmers can harvest four times in one year instead of their usual one harvest per year. That’s why PAMANA projects really bring big changes in our community),” he said.
Janihim also conveyed his gratitude both on the projects implemented in his municipality and the assessment conducted in the city.
Masaya ako na naimbitahan dito para malahad ko rin ‘yong problema sa community. Ang kagandahan nito kasi makikita natin kung papaano ‘yong implementations, kailan, kung nade-delay ba ang proyekto, at naa-update ba kami (I am happy to be invited here in the midterm assessment because I can share our problems in the community. Another good thing from this assessment is that we can know the process of implementation, its timeline, status, and regular updates to us),” he said.
During his closing remarks, OPAPP Director Sherwin Vizconde thanked the province’s LGUs for taking the time to discuss their respective projects to them.
“We in OPAPP are very hopeful that the much coveted just and lasting peace will become a reality. Kung hindi man sa ating lifetime, then to the next generation. We are here to plant the seeds of hope, of peace,” he said.
The Zamboanga del Norte forum was the second to the last of assessments conducted by OPAPP aimed to determine the status of PAMANA projects’ physical and financial progress as well as the ways to move forward in order to enhance the project’s implementation. ###

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.  ###

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