Barangays asked to include 'conflict transformation' in planning

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/10 Dec) – Local governments, especially those in the margins of conflicts, must incorporate conflict transformation in budget planning, according to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The barangays, according to DILG-Caraga assistant regional director Lilibeth Famacion, must incorporate their needs in conflict transformation in the preparation of the 20-percent development fund.

She added that the fund could be used for initiatives to address conflict and is not only intended for infrastructure projects.

Famacion told a partners’ forum of the German Technical Cooperation here that this has been left out in the planning from the barangay level.

She vowed to include conflict transformation in the DILG’s orientation of new barangay officials.

Josefina Bajade, Agusan del Sur’s provincial social welfare and development officer, said among the related things can be included is regular risk assessment, the conflict being one of the many risks confronting grassroots communities.

The two officials discussed what local government and national government agencies can do to sustain present initiatives on conflict transformation.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process released last week a list of 194 conflict-affected barangays in Caraga. The list includes close to 15 percent of the region’s 1,310 barangays.

The OPAPP source, who asked not to be named for lack of authority to speak on the plan, told MindaNews they have held consultation meetings for the launching of the government’s new program for peace in conflict-affected areas dubbed “Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan” or Pamana (peaceful and bountiful communities).

He said Pamana, a flagship program, will now include the defunct Social Integration Program (SIP) of the past administration and other programs intended to support the peace process.

But lawyer Josefe Ty, dean of the College of Law of Fr. Saturnino Urios University (FSSU), told the forum that OPAPP must already set up an office in the region to focus on addressing the conflicts in the area.

She said OPAPP should pay close attention to the problem of conflict in Caraga, especially with the insurgency problem with the New People’s Army.

But she said Caraga’s problem is not limited to the NPA.

“We have land-based and natural resource conflicts from which spring bigger problems,” she told MindaNews in an interview.

She said the region plays a crucial role in the economy with its supply of gold and nickel to the domestic and international market.

Ty, also the executive director of the FSSU Policy Center, said if they decide to put up an office in the region they must also assign someone preferably from the region who knows the context of the problem. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)