CAGAYAN DE ORO City, PH, July 24-28 — Local government units (LGUs) play a crucial role in advancing in the countrysides the peace and development agenda of the government, claimed Ms. Jane Docallos, city director of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“LGUs play a crucial role in peace work with mandates emanating from the Comprehensive Peace Plan of the national government and the LGU mandate in maintaining peace and order,“ she said during the Basic Orientation on Conflict Sensitivity and Do No Harm at the N Hotel here on July 24-28.
Anchored by Herville Pajaron, senior advisor for Land and Resource Management of the GIZ-COSERAM programme, the series of orientation was designed specifically for LGUs in the Province of Bukidnon and other provinces in the Northern Mindanao region.
Docallos said that the Philippines is now being challenged from all sides that “may forced“ some LGU officials to be in the center of the spotlight as they face the challenges head-on.
“When we talk of peace and development, we are basically talking resources because we all know that resources are becoming scarce while the population is steadily increasing. And local government units have jurisdictions over how these resources will be used,“ she said.
Docallos then focused on the more than half-a-century Marxist insurgency problem that continue to rage in the countryside, and the “new“ problem of terrorism — which she admitted Filipinos “have belatedly acknowledged as a problem“ — and the issues of climate change and environmental degradation: “these are all challenges that we in the LGUs are facing and some, if not all, of these and others, are existing in our localities.“
“In peace and development, the actors are the LGUs and not the national government,“ she said.
Most of the participants to the orientation were from LGUs in Bukidnon that are “in the heart of the insurgency problem“ in Northern Mindanao, most adjacent or situated within the Kalabugao Plain, a 51,000-hectare resources-rich area that sits astride six (6) municipalities belonging to the provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental in Region 10 and Agusan del Sur in Region 13 (Caraga).
These municipalities are Impasug-ong, Bukidnon; Malitbog, Bukidnon; Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon; Claveria, Misamis Oriental; San Luis, Agusan del Sur; and Esperanza, Agusan del Sur.
The Kalabugao Plain convergence program, initiated by the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-10) and Regional Development Council (RDC-10) of Northern Mindanao is basically “bringing the government to the people“ in cooperation with various local and national government and private institutions in order to address the root causes of conflict.
“Peace is basically addressing the root causes of conflicts“ so that development efforts will not be hindered, Docallos said. She further explained that peace and development can be likened to “husband and wife — both are mutually reinforcing.“
“We cannot really separate peace and development concerns,“ she said, adding that as LGU officials, this requires “good planning about the use of resources, which is basically what good governance is about—the wise use of resources for the good of the people.“
Before ending her talk, Docallos expressed hope that participants will use the lens of peace and development in their planning processes.