GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 30 May) – The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has completed two community infrastructure projects worth P3 million in a peace and development village in Tupi town in South Cotabato.
Nelida Pereira, South Cotabato provincial social welfare and development officer, said Thursday the newly-completed projects in Barangay Palian in Tupi comprise a peace training center and multi-purpose gymnasium that were implemented under the national government’s peace-building initiative Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan or PAMANA program.
She said OPAPP formally turned over the projects to the beneficiaries, who are mainly former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members, last Wednesday.
Pereira said the construction of the two community projects started last January and was completed late last month.
She said the multi-purpose gymnasium and the peace training center, which the beneficiaries intend to utilize for their coco sugar production venture, cost around P1.5 million each.
“These were projects that were earlier identified and proposed by the beneficiaries themselves and were eventually adopted by OPAPP for the PAMANA program,” she said.
Under the program, Pereira said OPAPP approved the proposals submitted by village residents for the implementation of the two projects, which they believe will help sustain peace and development in the area.
Declared a peace and development community in 2007, Barangay Palian is one of over 100 peace and development communities in Mindanao that were identified by the national government as beneficiaries of the PAMANA program.
PAMANA is the government’s program and framework for peace and development in areas affected by conflict and communities covered by existing peace agreements.
OPAPP said in a statement that the program intends to provide communities with projects funded under the government’s stimulus fund to bring genuine peace and development.
It also aims to “reduce poverty, improve governance and empower communities in situations of conflict,” it added.
A complementary track to the peace negotiations, it said the program’s main strategy is to bring the government closer to the identified PAMANA areas, “ensuring that the communities benefit from improved delivery of basic social services and are served by responsive, transparent and accountable government units.”
In Region 12, the Department of Interior and Local Government earlier said the national government allocated P30 million for the implementation of various projects under the PAMANA program.
The projects that may be funded by the program include connectivity systems, basic services for economic development, agricultural services and industry investments, economic investments in indigenous people’s areas and disaster-preparedness climate change adaptation interventions.
The fund may also be used as a source of subsidy for major projects of local government units with similar objectives and to finance detailed engineering design costs.