Deles on peace nego with Bangsamoro: “it stops with us”

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/24 July) – “It stops with us.”

The audience at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Center here applauded when Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles reiterated that the peace negotiations with the Aquino administration “won’t reach the end of his term.”

Deles said the administration’s thrust is still to forge an agreement within the first half of its six-year term so that implementation of the agreement can already begin within the remaining period.

“It stops with us,” she said at the launching Saturday of the PAMANA (Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan or Peaceful and Resilient Communities), the government’s flagship program for peace and development, in Talayan, Maguindanao and Pigcawayan, North Cotabato.

PAMANA is  the government’s peace and development framework and program, in response to the needs of communities nationwide that have been affected by armed conflict.

Deles’ office heads PAMANA, “a convergence strategy in which all government agencies as well civil society organizations and donor groups pool their efforts and resources to help empower families in conflict areas.”

The project is focusing on seven regions nationwide, three of them in Mindanao: ZamBaSulTa (Zamboanga-Basilan-Sulu-Tawitawi), Southern Mindanao and ARMM, particularly Maguindanao and North Cotabato) and ComVal (Compostela Valley) Caraga Corridor.

“In your situation as IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) we can say that you have more needs compared to other communities. Thus, services should be delivered faster and more complete. Under PAMANA, the government will do its best not to leave behind any community, sector or group,” she said.

Under the IDP Shelter Assistance Project, 170 core shelters are being constructed in Barangay Limunan, Talayan in Maguindanao, ten of them finished while 53 are being completed in Barangay Libungan Toretta in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato,  23 of which have been finished.

Deles said complaints concerning PAMANA projects can be referred to the Institute of Autonomy and Governance (IAG) headed by Fr. Eliseo Mercado, Jr., which is monitoring the implementation of the project.

She said a website will feature “real-time posting” of the releases to PAMANA. There will also be billboards to announce what projects have been given to the erstwhile displaced communities

“All in all, the government has released P10.7 M for the building of these shelters,” Deles said. “By 2012, there will be 4,000 shelters already constructed by the government.”

Deles’ office heads PAMANA, “a convergence strategy in which all government agencies as well civil society organizations and donor groups pool their efforts and resources to help empower families in conflict areas.”

“In your situation as IDPs, we can say that you have more needs compared to other communities. Thus, services should be delivered faster and more complete. Under PAMANA, the government will do its best not to leave behind any community, sector or group,” she said.

Deles said complaints concerning PAMANA projects can be referred to the Institute of Autonomy and Governance (IAG) headed by Fr. Eliseo Mercado, Jr., which is monitoring the implementation of the project.

She said a website will feature “real-time posting” of the releases to PAMANA. There will also be billboards to announce what projects have been given to the erstwhile displaced communities.

Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu expressed hopes there would  be no return to the past, apparently referring to his predecessor,  Andal Ampatuan, Sr., and his clan, when leaders took advantage of the people.

“Minsan nagamit na rin po kayo” (You were used before), he said, adding, “kahit walang gulo, hinahanapan ng paraan para magkagulo para may downloading ng pera” (even if there was no trouble, they found ways to create trouble so money could be downloaded).

The Ampatuans had armed members of Civilian Volunteers Organization purportedly to help fight the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Thousands of residents again fled their homes in 2008, following the outbreak of hostilities after the aborted signing of the government-MILF Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD).

The Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre  in its April 2009 report said the internal displacement of 600,000 residents in Mindanao in 2008 was “the biggest new displacement in the world” out of 4.2 million newly displaced in  2008.
The 2009 Philippine report in the IDMC “only includes people displaced as a result of the August 2008 upsurge in fighting between the MILF and government forces in Mindanao. It does not include people displaced in previous years and who have not been able to fund durable solutions, nor people displaced by clashes between government forces and communist NPA rebels in Mindanao and elsewhere.”

The OPAPP media bureau put the figure of  remaining displaced families from the 2008 war at 3,973 in Maguindanao, 300 in Midsayap, North Cotabato and 265 in Aleosan and Pigcawayan also in North Cotabato.

“There is still a lot to be done to help those affected return to their normal lives,” Deles said.  (MindaNews)

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