So much to look forward to in 2014

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By Gingging Avellanosa-Valle

Bahin sang buhay

Sunday, December 29, 2013

EVEN if the national landscape seems bleak at a glance, many would agree that it’s not that bad after all. Because we are Filipinos, and the whole world knew that we are not easily cowed by gargantuan problems and issues, our collective will makes us earnestly and persistently work for the betterment of our lot.

The following quotations are culled from some recommendations put forward by the Sustainable Cooperation for Equitable Enterprise Development Inc. (SUCCEED), a non-government organization that has bravely undertook case studies of the different stakeholders to pace in Mindanao. It then put forward its learning to the general public from which it hoped would also make policy-makers consider in their work toward rebuilding efforts for peace in our fragile Mindanao. Some of its recommendations are thought-provoking, hence the following:

The GRP and MILF’s agreement on the annex on revenue and wealth sharing i.e. arrangements on metallic and non-metallic minerals, tax collections from businesses operating in the region, block grants from the central government, ODAs, fiscal autonomy, etc. assures funds for the Bangsamoro to support its reconstruction and development programs. These are expected to be carried in the BBL that is hopefully approved by the Philippine congress.

Review of the regulatory frameworks, however, shall be done so that there shall be harmony and consistencies on other existing laws and policies such as; the issue on the joint DBM/DOF circular 2004-1 as against sec 9 article 9 of RA 9054 (retention clause of revenue collection); provisions of 7646 (an act authorizing the commissioner of the BIR prescribing the place of payment for large tax payers) with RA 9054 wherein transactions of large tax payers in ARMM are correspondingly recorded in the account of the ARG; and, electricity power industry reform act (EPIRA) guideline on the share of host communities from power generation; among others.

Other possible sources of financing also include the investments from the private sector, financial institutions, micro-finance institutions (MFIs), and other funding donors (local and international). Mandated supplementary sources like AFMA, allocation from FIs (for agriculture development, ARCs, MSMEs) etc. shall be strictly imposed and monitored.

GFIs and MFIs shall be encouraged to allocate adequate amount of capital/credit to Muslim clients, design appropriate approaches along the concept of Shariah banking;

Simultaneous with ensuring revenues and funding channeled through varying government structures (i.e. ARG, LGUs, congressmen), it is recommended to operationalize a mechanism that shall strictly monitor implementation of programs and projects. These shall be complemented with people’s active participation together with the CSOs in development planning and implementation, in a strong movement for transparent and accountable governance thereby putting in place a system of checks and balance.

Budget allocation for delivery basic social services (i.e. health and education) is absolutely warranted. Moreover, public spending for infrastructure (i.e. roads, ports, energy, etc.), agriculture, fishery and industry development shall be significantly increased to stimulate inclusive growth and development.

Resolution of Land Disputes, Local Conflicts, and Peace Building

Continued investment in peace building, particularly in fostering peace and trust building between the various population groups and clans locally is vital to reduce the risk in spite the resolution of the armed conflict of Mindanao groups (MILF) with the Philippine Government. It would be a mistake to discontinue peace building programs now for reason that one significant part of the political conflict will end. Building trust among groups is a sound risk reduction strategy aimed at creating conditions for local economic development.

Justice delivery mechanisms building on traditional and customary beliefs, elements of sharia law and of modern justice system shall be supported and further strengthened. The tri-people’s and the mayor’s council of the Municipalities of Parang and Upi in conflict resolution and management can be replicated; the participation of the POs, cooperatives, private, religious groups, and traditional leaders must be encouraged where ever applicable to “nip in the bud” looming local conflicts and avert it from evolving into full scale rido.

Anniversaries and other celebrations shall be made avenues to commemorate and foster peace and cooperation. All residents regardless of religion, beliefs and traditions shall be encouraged to participate including the youth, women, Lumads, Muslims and settlers, etc. The idea of radio for peace, rubber for peace and other programs and projects can be imitated and expanded.

Issues on land disputes and land reform shall be resolved with finality. Anomalous implementation of agrarian reform shall be reviewed. Land surveys (e.g. cadastral) and titling shall be done to determine rightful owners of parcels of land. Regulatory frameworks including those of ancestral domain claim of the IPs within the Bangsamoro must also be harmonized and clarified.

Other recommendation are include restoring trust in justice system and reduce case backlogs; Stricter imposition on the rule of law; and, support for sharia justice system.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 30, 2013.


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