PEACE 911, a localized peace and development initiative program of the Davao City Government, will expand its coverage to 17 more villages after clamors from barangay captains in insurgency-prone areas.
The program, initiated by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, was launched last year to create a human-centered approach in addressing social and economic injustices in government services and assistance neglected areas.
This came on the heels of President Rodrigo Duterte's cutting ties with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) after the failed peace talks, thus, changing its strategy in addressing issues and concerns of insurgency and how it affects the residents of Davao City.
Originally, Peace 911's pilot areas are 14 barangays in Paquibato and Calinan Districts, but the areas were expanded to more barangays, including in Tugbok, Toril and Marilog Districts.
"Since the program was initiated, 14 barangays were declared NPA-free," said City Mayor's Office peace adviser Irene Santiago on Wednesday, April 24, during the Winning The Peace: Multi-stakeholders' Dialogue on the Peace Process at the Ateneo de Davao University.
With the Executive Order (EO) 70, or the "National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict" issued by President Duterte that aims to institutionalize a "Whole Nation Approach Policy" in attaining peace and end longtime conflict between the government and the communist group, Santiago said that Peace 911 remains to be a challenge.
"With the National Government coming up with EO70, (Peace 911) is not a military approach in attaining peace, because we are more digging deeper into the unequal power structures of the economy, politics, and the social system. It's the voice of the people that we are more concerned about," she said.
Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez, who was present during the dialogue, recognized the city's peace process as a role model other cities in the country could adapt.
"With the EO70, we wanted to give localized peace engagement a chance," Galvez said.
He said that along with the national panel, a Regional Task Force will be formed to ensure that all local government units will be involved in the peace process.