Manila, Dec. 30 – The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) on Friday turned over to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) government a check worth P 62 million intended for the construction of 2,340 shelters for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Maguindanao under the PAMANA or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) program.
Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles led the ceremonial turnover held at the OPAPP headquarters in Pasig. Newly-installed ARMM Vice Governor Bainon Karon received the check on behalf of Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman.
Also joining the ceremony were Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Jr., Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan, Tawi-Tawi Gov. Sadikul Sahali, Basilan Gov. Jun Akbar, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-ARMM Assistant Secretary Pombaen Kader, OPAPP Undersecretary Dimasangcay Pundato, Usec. Louie Montalbo, Usec. Gettie Sandoval, ASec. Howard Cafugauan, Asec. Jehanne Mutin, Asec. Romie Halabaso, and Director Susan Marcaida.
A total of 2,340 IDP shelters will be constructed for families displaced by armed skirmishes between government forces and lawless elements led by former MILF Commanders Ustadz Ameril Umra Kato and Bravo after the aborted signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain in August 2008.
The shelters are expected to be completed within four months in five municipalities and 11 barangays. The municipalities include Talayan, Datu Anggal Midtimbang, Datu Piang, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, and Datu Salibo.
The IDP Shelter Assistance Project which provides basic housing facilities to displaced families in conflict-affected areas is a project under Pillar 1 of the PAMANA program.
PAMANA, a complementary track to peace negotiations, is the government’s peace and development framework that seeks to reduce poverty, improve governance and empower communities through community-driven projects that address people’s needs and, at the same time, promote peace.
Winning peace on the ground
In her speech, Deles emphasized that “the government is sincerely committed to winning peace, not only on the peace negotiating table, but also on the ground especially in conflict-affected communities, in order for them to have a stake in sustaining peace.”
Maguindanao Peace and Development Officer Dave Utto, who represented Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, lauded President Benigno Aquino II for being “serious and dedicated in advancing peace and development in ARMM.”
“Peace building efforts and development programs of the national government and the local government which are experienced by the people in our province are big blessings. They promote the welfare of the Bangsamoro,” Utto said.
Karon expressed gratitude to the national government for the PAMANA projects vigorously undertaken in the region.
“Completing and implementing the PAMANA projects is a challenge and also an important goal in the matuwid na daan (straight path) policy of our President,” Karon stated.
OPAPP serves as the oversight agency of PAMANA, while DSWD, Department of Interior and Local Government and Department of Agrarian Reform are the implementing agencies.
To uphold transparency and accountability, civil society organizations are engaged in monitoring the implementation of PAMANA projects.
For the IDP Shelter Assistance Project, the government has tapped the Institute for Autonomy and Governance as its third-party monitor.
The construction contractor for the shelters in the province is Kilusang Magkaibigan Multi-purpose Cooperative.