Usec. Andot urges LGUs to pursue local peace initiatives

BUTUAN City, PH, April 5-6, 2017—Local government units must pursue their own local peace initiatives to contribute to the national government’s overall development thrust.

Undersecretary Diosita “Jojo” Andot of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said that peacebuilding is part and parcel of the commitment that LGU officials are obliged to deliver as part of their people’s right to development.

LOCAL PEACE INITIATIVES. OPAPP Usec. Jojo Andot urges LGU officials to do everything in their power to pursue local peace initiatives in support of the national government’s peace efforts. (© GIZ/Bong D. Fabe)

Andot reminded LGU officials during the 3rdCOSERAM Partners’ Forum on April 5-6, 2017 in Butuan City that “we are obligated and committed to make sure that our people received their right to development and this is non-negotiable.”

“We have to do everything possible including making sure that local peace initiatives are pursued. We don’t have to wait for national government to do that. We in the local government know the context of our area more than the national government; we know the dynamics there, we know its potentials and we certainly know also of its weaknesses and we are always in the best position to respond,” she said in response to a question raised during the Panel Discussion.

Local peacebuilding was among those covered in the Panel Discussions during the forum. During the Panel Discussion on “National Policies, Local Implementation: Empowering LGUs for Action”, Stanley Uriarte, provincial planning and development officer of Misamis Oriental said that conflicts are normal and natural and they are resolved over time.

However, Uriarte stressed that conflict resolution must be “based on the plans and frameworks designed for the overall development of the community.”

Misamis Oriental PPDO Stanley Uriarte (middle, with mic) says that policies and programs, especially those about peace and development, must come from the people themselves. (© GIZ/Bong D. Fabe)

“As it has been said, it is very difficult to achieve peace without development and achieving development needs peace. Thus, peace considerations must always be part and parcel of any development plan,” he said.

For Talisayan town Mayor Rommel C. Maslog, the solution or proposed solution to the issue of peace and development should be based on the local context and not imposed on the local government by the national government.“As it has been said, it is very difficult to achieve peace without development and achieving development needs peace. Thus, peace considerations must always be part and parcel of any development plan,” he said.

Maslog said that if the national government must proposed solutions, these should be customized and designed for the local setting taking into consideration the culture, the local’s customs, beliefs and principles, among others. To do this, community consultations must be done, starting from the planning stage.

“For so long we have been talking about peace and development and there are so many initiatives that need to harmoniously implement in the community but are these in connection with their culture, principles and beliefs? These should be customized. It is so difficult for LGUs to implement policies that were not customized and designed for the locals…There should be consultations on the planning stage with the locals so that policies are not wasted,” he said.

According to Uriarte, policies, programs and projects must emanate from the community. Their aspirations and idea must be captured into the various mandated plans and translated into programs and projects that LGUs can easily implement. Thus the need for consultations.

For Engr. Julio Carlon Jr., provincial planning and development officer of Agusan del Norte, consultations are very important since the different perspectives of the people generate a common understanding of their experiences and aspirations as a community.

“Communities, like the indigenous people, have a practical sense of what peace and development is, what needs to be done and how it can be done differently…There is a high process of ownership of the formulated plans when folks are able to jointly discuss the problems and their solutions,” he said.

Thus, national line agencies were urged to first know “what the communities want” to determine if national policies are really implementable in the communities.

WHAT COMMUNITIES WANT. PGAS-PENRO-SMES Sally Acopiado (middle) stresses that national policies must also address what the communities really want. (© GIZ/Bong D. Fabe)

“National policies are good. But are they really implementable in the community? For the national government to go down to the ground level, we need to know what the communities want,” said Ma. Angelita Salome Acopiado, SMES, PENRO, Agusan del Sur.

The 3rd COSERAM Partners’ Forum is just one of the strategies of the Conflict Sensitive Resource and Asset Management (COSERAM) Program to provide a venue for partners and different interest groups the chance to dialogue, exchange ideas and information, learnings and even challenges.

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