OPAPP supports local livelihood project in N. Cotabato
Residents of Midsayap, North Cotabato benefit from PAMANA's production and post-harvest projects for freshwater fish
Midsayap, North Cotabato, May 30 – Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles has expressed support to the community-led initiative here that aims to mitigate conflict through poverty reduction.
“Like your example, the government believes that developments can be advanced in the communities even before the conclusion of the negotiations,” she said during the launching over the weekend of a fish pen project dubbed “Peace Pens” in Barangay Kapinpilan in this town.
The “Peace Pens” was established through public-private partnership. It was facilitated by a non-government organization Magungaya Center for PALMA Inc. (MCPI) and the 40th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, supported by the provincial and municipal government in North Cotabato.
The project is an offshoot of the “Peace Ponds” project for rehabilitation efforts in 13 barangays in Midsayap.
Brgy. Kapinpilan was among those affected when fighting ensued between forces of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) following the aborted signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) in 2008.
In this context, Deles lauded the community for being “an example that rising after the war is not impossible.”
“Indeed, no other party or stakeholder in the peace process desires peace more deeply than those whose rights and welfare have been waylaid violently,” she told the villagers.
Deles pointed out that working for lasting peace depends not only on the negotiation tables, but equally important is the development work pursued in the communities. With this, she sends her appreciation and support to the peace and development initiative of the community.
Livelihoods mean peace
Madron Endaila, one of the elderly who has experienced poverty and, at the same time, the brunt of the armed conflict in his hometown, expressed his appreciation for the “Peace Pens” project.
“We want more livelihood projects like this because for us, livelihoods mean there is peace, no war,” he stated.
Endaila added that he believes conflict can be alleviated if people’s basic needs are met. “Addressing conflict would mean addressing the needs of the communities.”
Deles assured the leaders and residents of Brgy. Kapinpilan that the national government will relentlessly complement their efforts to achieve peace.
She underscored the determination of the Aquino administration to sign and implement a peace agreement with Moro rebels, and address the needs of communities on the ground.
Parallel to this is the PAMANA (Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan) program to promote peaceful and resilient communities as a complementary track to the primary task of ending armed conflict and achieving peace through a negotiated political settlement.
The launching of the “Peace Pens” was also attended by local government officials of Midsayap and North Cotabato; Commander of 6th Infantry Division BGen Rey Ardo; MCPI Executive Director Junalyn Sumlay; Indonesian Embassy's Acting Consul General Zaenur Rofid; and representatives from the World Food Program and the Asia Foundation.