Aquino earmarks P718M for MNLF peace and development communities

January 1, 2012 2:54 am 

By Ben Cal

MANILA, Dec. 31 –- Determined to develop the economic potentials of Mindanao, the Aquino administration has earmarked P718 million that would transform former rebel bases of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) into peace and development communities (PDC) to augment the implementation of the peace agreement signed between the government and the MNLF in 1996.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles 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) providing funds for PDC projects for the MNLF in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The MOA signing was held at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in suburban Pasig City.

Other signatories included 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.

Deles said that President Benigno S. Aquino III had set aside P718 million under PAMANA to benefit MNLF members in communities formerly known as MNLF bases that were transformed into PDCs in the implementation of the 1996 GPH-MNLF Final Peace Agreement.

The PAMANA-PDC projects will be implemented through partnership agreements with provincial government units. The PAMANA-PDC covers 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 will act as the third-party monitor for the transparent implementation of the projects.

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 said.

She also said that the 1996 final peace agreement ushered in the constitution of PDCs, one of the mechanisms for the rehabilitation of the rebels and communities, providing them with new opportunities for livelihood and other social and economic benefits.

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

Meanwhile, ARMM provincial governors expressed their gratitude to the national government. “I’m glad that our provincial local government is part of the implementation of the PAMANA projects,” Sahali said.

Akbar lauded President Aquino for giving priority to peace and development projects in the province where “different elements are situated.”

For his part, 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.”

Utto said the signing of the MOA meant more peace and development efforts in ARMM communities and signaled that the work for just and lasting peace would be successful. Also present in the MOA signing were OPAPP Undersecretary Louie Montalbo, Undersecretary Gettie Sandoval, Assistant Secretaries Howard Cafugauan, Jehann Mutin, Asec. Rommie Halabaso, Director Susan Marcaida, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-ARMM Assistant Secretary Pombaen Kader, and National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Commissioner and former MNLF official Hatimil Hassan. (PNA) RMA/RBC/rsm

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