More local government units (LGUs) from various municipalities are set to be trained this year on mainstreaming conflict sensitivity and peace promoting approaches to their planning processes, Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said today.
“We are hoping that more LGUs particularly in conflict-affected areas will be able to implement initiatives that will address the root causes of conflict in their respective localities,” she stated.
The peace adviser said that through the Mainstreaming Peace and Development in Local Governance Project (MPDLGP), LGUs will be equipped to effectively and efficiently manage conflict and implement peace and development initiatives that will be funded under the government’s PAMANA or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) program.
The MPDLGP, which started in 2011, is a collaborative effort of OPAPP, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) through the Local Government Academy, and Bureau of Local Government Development. It is funded by the Government of Spain through the “Agencia Espanola de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID).
Deles announced that OPAPP and AECID are slated to sign the Administrative Protocol of Aid Management today at the Legend Villas in Mandaluyong City. She will be leading the signing, together with AECID Coordinator General Vicente Sellés Zaragozí. Spanish Ambassador Jorge Domecq and DILG USec. Austere Panadero will witness the signing along with guests from the donor community.
“We are expanding the reach of our partnership to capacitate more LGUs across the country and continue our work in strengthening their capacities in mainstreaming peace and development in local governance,” explained Deles.
“Our peace-building experiences, whether local or international, have taught us that we cannot just bring development as usual in conflict-affected areas,” she said. “Any project that will be implemented in conflict-affected areas need to be carefully designed and implemented so that it does not exacerbate existing conditions that drive the conflict in that area but more importantly, create more peace impacts,” she added stressing the need to enhance relationships and the communities’ capacities for peace.
In 2011, AECID committed to provide the Philippine government a grant amounting to € 1,500,000 (P 80.0 million).
“The Spanish Government is pleased to work hand in hand with the Government of the Philippines in its commitment to work towards development as an effective way to achieve peace,” Domecq said.
“The Philippines is a priority country for the Spanish Cooperation and the only one remaining in Asia. Spain considers the Philippines a very close and unique partner, since both countries share many values and principles through a common history and cultural heritage,” he added.
According to Deles, since the MPDLGP began in 2011, AECID has funded several projects implemented by OPAPP and DILG. MPDLGP workshops conducted last year have enabled 25 provinces to come up with a list of interventions that are now listed for funding for FY 2013. There were also 293 PAMANA or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayaan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) projects that were reviewed and assessed through the MPDLGP.
AECID also supported a project aimed at strengthening monitoring capacities of civil society organizations (CSOs) with the creation of the “Development of Livelihoods Monitoring Handbook for Third-Party Monitors.” The system was developed by a renowned Spanish institution (Autónoma of Barcelona University – UNESCO Chairmanship – Escola de Pau – ECP) together with OPAPP. It will now allow CSOs to carry out the monitoring of livelihood projects implemented under the Pillar 3 of the PAMANA program.
Further, AECID helped fund the expenses of the 25-member delegation led by Deles and joined by the government peace panel in talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and local government officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in their study visit to Spain last 2012 to learn from existing Spanish autonomous regions. The visit aimed to orient delegates on the Spanish territorial division model as well as best practices and lessons learned from the public and territorial organization of the Spanish Government. During the visit, the participants had the opportunity to exchange views with the members of the Spanish Constitutional Court, the institution responsible for resolving any potential territorial conflict. Likewise, they had the opportunity to visit different regional parliaments as well as the regional police corps.