Gov’t allocates P103M for peace process program PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 20 November 2011 17:39

The government has allocated P103 million from the 2012 national budget for the ongoing peace process program with various rebel groups.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) headed by Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles said the amount will be taken from the P240-million budget of OPAPP for 2012.

Of the amount, P50 million has been allocated for the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), P23 million for the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), and P10 million each for closure tracks with the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA), the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP/RPA/ABB), and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

For OPAPP’s personnel services, P55 million has been earmarked, and P92 million for maintenance and other operation expenditures.

Deles cited the immense tasks of her office next year with regard to the peace process of the government.

“We will work doubly hard, keeping in mind the President’s goal of achieving political settlement of all armed conflicts within his term,” she said.

Deles proposed P240 million as its budget next year, saying “this is P329 million less than the original proposed budget of P569 million.”

“The government, through OPAPP, has made progress in the different peace tables. Talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is on track,” she said. “And after a six-year impasse, we have revived the negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP).”

Deles said that formal negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF resumed last February in Kuala Lumpur.

“At that meeting, the MILF panel submitted to the GPH panel its revised proposal. On August 22, the GPH panel submitted its ‘3-for-1’ proposal to resolve the conflict in Mindanao,” she said.

The peace adviser added that the government’s 3-for-1 formula consists of three components: roadmap for development and socioeconomic reconstruction in Mindanao; the Peace Accord, which constitutes the GPH framework to achieve a political solution to the long-standing conflict; and acknowledgment of the historical causes of conflict and initiatives towards reconciliation.

“On the side, our panel has conducted a total of 60 consultations in Mindanao, including nine conducted since the August 22 talks in Kuala Lumpur,” Deles said.

On Nov. 4, the GPH and the MILF met for an informal executive meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a candid exchange to move the peace process forward.

“Both sides cleared the air about pressing issues regarding the negotiations. We leveled off more on each other’s concepts and identified our common grounds as well as our differences,” government chief negotiator Marvic Leonen said in a statement.

Leonen likewise said that both panels agreed to “conduct investigations through the ceasefire mechanisms” following the incident in Al-Barka, Basilan which led to the death of 19 soldiers.

Meanwhile, the peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDFP resumed on February 2011 in Oslo, Norway.

“Both sides agreed to an accelerated time frame, the convening of reciprocal working committees and thematic working groups, and the determination to conduct consultations and complete working drafts,” Deles said.

“There has been a delay in the talks with the NDFP demanding the release of alleged political prisoners before going back to the negotiating table, but we remain positive and open to peace negotiations,” she added.

The government has also engaged with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) and the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas–Revolutionary Proletarian Army–Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP/RPA/ABB) regarding the full implementation of agreements already concluded and signed.

“We have fast-tracked the closure process with the CPLA and the RPMP-RPA-ABB. We have signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the CPLA last July 4 towards their final disposition of arms and forces and transformation into a potent, socioeconomic unarmed force. With the RPMP-RPA-ABB, we have supported their intent to become part of the Philippine mainstream, and to be politically and socially relevant without the use of arms,” Deles said.

On the peace process with the MNLF, the government has been working towards completing the implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.

“The Ad Hoc High-Level Group of the two parties met in Indonesia last June 20-22 to discuss unresolved issues on the table. In that meeting, the GPH and MNLF mutually recognized the possibilities for reform in light of the postponement of the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) elections. Both agreed that they should use the period to work together with other concerned stakeholders to capacitate the ARMM as a complementary mechanism for the full implementation of the peace pact,” the OPAPP head said.

This year, OPAPP also launched PAMANA or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities), which is the government’s program and framework that seeks to reduce poverty, improve governance and empower communities in seven conflict zones all over the country.

“The President allocated P568 million to jump-start the implementation of PAMANA which started last June,” Deles related. “Under the program’s Pillar 1, 93 out of 295 target core shelters for displaced families have been constructed already in Maguindanao and North Cotabato. For Pillar 2, social preparation and validation of community-based projects are ongoing in various areas. As for Pillar 3, 34 subregional projects, such as road rehabilitation, eco-tourism development and livelihood are continuing.”

PAMANA, which is currently implemented in 516 barangays in 80 municipalities, is jointly led by OPAPP, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development and Department of Agrarian Reform.

Deles explained that OPAPP carries out oversight and monitoring functions in PAMANA, while DILG, DSWD and DAR are the main implementing agencies.

“As stated under Executive Order 3, OPAPP will be charged with the management and supervision of the comprehensive peace process. The peace adviser has the authority to coordinate and integrate all efforts to advance the comprehensive peace agenda,” she said.

Senator Franklin Drilon, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, has proposed that the PAMANA budget earmarked at P1.8 billion be lodged under the implementing agencies, but OPAPP will still serve as oversight.

Under this proposal, OPAPP will not be allocated funds under PAMANA as it is not an implementing agency.

According to the Committee Report on House Bill No. 5023, P16.5 million will go to the DAR, P958 million to the DILG, and P789.8 million to the DSWD.