Opapru, LGUs ink agreement to champion peace through the implementation of PAMANA projects

Opapru, LGUs ink agreement to champion peace through the implementation of PAMANA projects

Pasay City — The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (Opapru) and local chief executives of six provinces, three cities, and 39 municipalities across the country inked a Memorandum of Agreement on Thursday, March 14, in a bid to enhance their collaboration in the implementation of Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Pamana) projects.

Some 43 governors and mayors gathered at the Philippine International Convention Center to formalize their commitment to support the Opapru in the implementation of Pamana projects for the fiscal year (FY) 2024.

More importantly, the event marked another major milestone in the national government’s efforts to bring greater peace, development and stability in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAS).

Under the agreement, the local government units will support the implementation of 70 Pamana-funded infrastructural and development projects nationwide. 

These projects include, among others, road concreting and improvements projects; the construction of farm-to-market roads, bridges, farmers training centers, water systems; and the provision of rainwater collectors and water storage tanks.

LGUs, a vital component of peacebuilding efforts


In his opening remarks, Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr. emphasized the indispensable role that LGUs play in the peacebuilding and development process.

“Napaka-importante po ng role ng ating mga LGUs because it is only through localized normalization and transformation implementation that our programs become sustainable because we all contribute, the LGUs contribute,” said Galvez.

He noted that as local leaders, they are able to view issues and concerns “from a more grounded and realistic perspective” because of their understanding of local dynamics, allowing them to recommend the best solutions in addressing the root causes of conflict. 

The peace adviser also expressed his gratitude to Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Sarte Salceda for helping to bring these Pamana projects into fruition.

“Dahil po kay Cong. Salceda, nabuhay po muli [ang Pamana],” Galvez stressed.

He also shared President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. guidance to LGUs during the “Panabang Kasanyagan” Peace Offering Celebration in Basilan last March 2, 2024, wherein he emphasized the need to support the transition of former rebels into mainstream society.  

“Kailangan baguhin natin ang buhay ng ating mga kapatid na gusto nang mag-bagong buhay…At ito po ay hindi magbabago kung wala ang Pamana at iba pang mga programang nakaderetso  sa kanila [sa ating mga kababayan],” Galvez added.

He called on local chief officials to effectively and efficiently implement Pamana projects, as these will be crucial in finally putting an end to armed conflict.

Galvez said that this is in recognition of the reality that as the country approaches a post-conflict era and the Armed Forces of the Philippines now focuses its efforts on territorial defense, LGUs would take the lead in the implementation of peacebuilding interventions.

He also thanked the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Public Works and Development, the Philippine Senate and Congress for allocating and approving OPAPRU’s fund request of Php 5 billion for the implementation of Pamana projects which are critical in sustaining the gains of peace.

Peace is an investment

Since 2011, the Pamana program has served as an integral mechanism of the national government to foster genuine peace in sustainable development in isolated, hard-to-reach focus areas in the country. 

Under the Marcos Administration, the program has become a key component of its Five Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Agenda.

Salceda, who has over the years served as a champion for the Pamana Program, said In his keynote message that peacebuilding “takes decades of painstaking work, patience, and perseverance.” 

He underscored that peace itself is an investment, saying, “Php 5 billion is nothing, as an investment in peace…Peace is not inevitable. Peace is not default and peace is not cheap.”

Salceda noted that the Marcos administration is pursuing what he called the “threefold paths to peace”–peaceful dialogue, peace through strength, and peace through shared prosperity. 

Salceda also expressed his strong and continued commitment to help support Opapru’s mandate of forging peace, reconciliation and unity.

“Unity is not an empty talk in this administration. May commitment po ang ating national leadership sa kapayapaan,” Salceda noted.

He added: “Shared prosperity is an equilibrium no one wants to disturb over time that sets the conditions for lasting peace. That is why I'm a firm believer in the Pamana program.”

Pledge of commitment

During the program, Kalinga Governor James Edduba, Guinobatan Mayor Paul Chino Garcia, Masilog Mayor Heraclio Santiago, Agusan del Norte Governor Angel Amante, and Tawi-Tawi Governor Yshmael Sali delivered messages of commitment during the event.

The local chief executives noted that Pamana projects have ended the isolation of remote- hard to reach communities in their respective areas, while making basic social services more accessible to their constituents.

“Through their [Opapru] dedication, we are poised to realize significant potentials that will positively transform the lives of our people. The construction of bridges and roads…represent more than just infrastructure development, it symbolizes hope, connectivity, and progress for our communities,” said Edduba.

Meanwhile, Gov Amante shared that she used to think it was normal to co-exist and give in to the demands of the New People’s Army (NPA) based in their communities.

“During campaigns, we were always asked by these NPAs to see them and they would collect money from us. I really believed it was a norm. I thank God and Allah that I reached a point in my governance where I saw that the government can be strong enough to succeed [over them],” she said 

Amante also highlighted the significant role of LGUS, saying, “Tayo po sa LGUs, we are also the key in attaining this, kung hanggang sa barangay level natin, very strong ang presence ng government, ‘yung mga tao natin na pinupuntahan nila [NPA] to get information, tatalikod na po sila doon.”

“We in the local government are really the drivers on the ground to make sure that our peace stays,” she added.

For his part, Sali expressed his gratitude for all the national government’s interventions that have helped to uplift the lives of their constituents, particularly through the socioeconomic projects under the Pamana program. 

He emphasized that Pamana has paved the way for the construction of water systems and water storages, which have helped address the limited water supply in the province.

In his closing remarks, Opapru Senior Undersecretary Isidro L. Purisima, Deputy Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity, encouraged the local chief executives to “take advantage of this golden opportunity to transform the lives of former rebels and their families so that they too, can become instruments of peace and development. PR


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