Philippines

PAMANA to benefit MNLF peace and dev't communities in ARMM

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Manila, Dec. 31 - The national government, through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, signed on Friday a number of Memorandum of Agreements (MOA) with the Provincial Governments of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan and Sulu to formalize their partnership under PAMANA or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan program (Peaceful and Resilient Communities). Said agreements provide for funds that will be used for projects in Peace and Development Communities or PDCs of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Held at the OPAPP headquarters in Pasig, the MOA-signing was led by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita "Ging" Quintos Deles, and attended by local chief executives who are MOA signatories, namely Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Jr., Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan, Tawi-Tawi Gov. Sadikul Sahali, Basilan Gov. Jum Akbar, and Provincial Peace and Development Officer Dave Utto who represented Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu. OPAPP Undersecretary Dimasangcay Pundato and ARMM Vice Governor Bainon Karon representing Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman, and Wahida Abtahe, head of the Federation of United Mindanawon Bangsamoro Women (FUMBWMPC) witnessed the event.

As part of the P-Noy administration’s affirmative action agenda for Muslim Mindanao, a budget totalling to PHP718M was earmarked under PAMANA to benefit MNLF members in communities formerly known as MNLF bases that were transformed into Peace and Development Communities during the implementation of the 1996 GPH-MNLF Final Peace Agreement. As with regular PAMANA projects, the PAMANA-PDC projects will be implented through partnership agreements with Provincial goverment units.

The PAMANA-PDC will cover constructions of farm-to-market roads, bridges, warehouses, water supply systems, health centers, community peace centers, irrigation systems, among others.

For this endeavor, OPAPP has engaged the Federation of United Mindanawan Bangsamoro Women Multi Purpose Cooperative (FUMBWMPC) to ensure that beneficiary communities are prepared for the entry of PAMANA. FUMBWMPC likewise acts as the third-party monitor for the transparent and accountable implementation of the projects in PDCs.

PAMANA, which is the government’s program and framework for peace and development, aims to reduce poverty, improve governance and empower communities in situations of conflict.

Good news

“The MOA signing for PAMANA projects in peace and development communities of MNLF is good news in this season of hope; it is a good way to end the year and start 2012 where implementation of the projects will start right away,” Deles pointed out in her speech.

She said that the 1996 FPA ushered in the constitution of PDCs, one of the mechanisms for the rehabilitation of the rebels and communities, providing them with new opportunities to find peaceful means of livelihood and other social and economic benefits.

Although PAMANA is not part of the implementation of the peace pact, it still supports the PDCs as the government’s direct action to further spur the economic activities of the people in MNLF areas.

Addressing peace and development needs

Meanwhile, the ARMM provincial governors expressed their gratitude to the national government.

Sahali stated “I’m glad that our provincial local government is part of the implementation of the PAMANA projects.”

Parallel to this, Akbar lauded President Benigno Aquino III in giving priority to peace and development projects in the province where “different elements are situated.”

Meanwhile, Tan conveyed appreciation to local governments and stakeholders for their active participation in peace building. “We are hopeful for genuine peace because the government shows dedication and seriousness in peace efforts.”

Adiong said that the present administration shows and undertakes efforts that “the peace and development needs of Muslim citizens in the country especially in the south are given attention by the national government.”

On the other hand, Utto related that the signing of the MOA means more peace and development efforts in ARMM communities and signals that the work for just and lasting peace will be successful.

Also present in the MOA signing were OPAPP Usec. Louie Montalbo, Usec. Gettie Sandoval, Assistant Secretary Howard Cafugauan, Asec. Jehann Mutin, Asec. Rommie Halabaso, Director Susan Marcaida, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-ARMM Assistant Secretary Pombaen Kader, and National