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Duterte appeals to Muslim people to support govt peace initiatives

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte appealed to the Muslim people in Mindanao to help him in building a peaceful nation.

“I am pleading to my Moro brothers and sisters to please help us. If you want, I will restore the barter trade. I will open Zamboanga again. I will introduce reforms not only to make the government happy but also to make you happy because it is the function of the government to make its citizens happy,” Duterte said when he visited the military tactical command post in Butig town on Wednesday, November 30.

The President particularly pleaded to all Moro political leaders, men of influence, and scholars to continue talking to the government and sort out solutions to address the problems in Mindanao.

He even vowed to prioritize Mindanao and pour aid to Muslim areas to improve their living conditions.
President Duterte is also open for the adoption of Shariah Law in some areas where it will be suitable as long as it is fair for both the Muslims and the Christians.

He further said that his administration will begin next year the structure for federalism but they will set aside the Constitutional provisions which are not acceptable.

He said the only concern is on how to come up with a peaceful community in the meantime.

However, President Duterte said he will not wage war with fellow Filipinos despite the recent attacks against government troops in the area.

I do not want to wage war. It is very easy to start a war but how to stop it and heal the wounds is difficult, he added.

The President visited Lanao del Sur to boost the morale of government troops fighting against the Maute group in Butig town. He also conducted a command briefing with military officials and commanders under the army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade. (APB/PIA-10)

Relief operations in Butig ongoing as LGU Summit continues

As local executives gathered in Davao City for the 3rd ARMM Local Government Summit, Butig town mayor chose to remain in his municipality as the military "recovered" most of the barangays that were occupied by the Maute group.
Mayor Dilanggalen "Jimmy" Pansar, however, was represented by other municipal officials from Butig, Lanao del Sur. Among them was Abdul Pansar, Butig's Municipal Planning and Development coordinator.  

According to Pansar, the poblacion of Butig is where the first encounters between the military and the Maute group happened roughly a week ago. 

On November 30, the said area was "recovered" by the military, along with most of the other barangays that were affected by the ongoing conflict. 

"There are still firefights in the forest areas within the skirts of the municipality, but control in the town proper itself has already been regained," he said.

Pansar, however, is far from at ease. 

Regional efforts
As the LGU Summit began in Davao yesterday, ARMM Regional Vice Governor and concurrent DSWD-ARMM Regional Secretary Haroud Al-Rashid Lucman Jr. was in Butig to conduct relief operations in the area. Together with DSWD-ARMM and ARMM's Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team (ARMM HEART), he was assisted by the municipal government of Butig along with the barangay captains in the area.

Lucman noted how the conflict has affected the lives of the people in Butig. "Classes, for one, have been suspended because the schools are currently not functioning," he said. 

"People have lost much of their property, especially in barangays such as Bayabao Poblacion where houses were razed to the ground by members of the Maute group," he added. "Some of the people have nothing left aside from the clothes on their backs." 

Military operations are still ongoing in the municipality. During the conduct of relief operations, Lucman noted that "the sound of bombs going off can be heard from afar while our relief operations are ongoing."

The vice governor also mentioned that "it is relatively difficult to conduct relief operations in Lanao del Sur because most internally displaced persons (IDPs) stay with their relatives and not in evacuation centers."

Need for recovery
The military has recovered 85 to 90 percent of Butig municipality, a military spokesperson said on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office XII placed the number of IDPs at 12,250. 

"Almost everybody chose to evacuate. Some went to nearby barangays, while residents of the same nearby barangays also chose to leave," Pansar said. 

The local and regional government, together with the DSWD field office, have already distributed food packs as part of their quick response and relief operations.

When asked about further needs of Butig residents, Pansar emphasized the need for support in "recovery" efforts. With only about 2,000 evacuees staying in three evacuation centers, Pansar said the local and regional government are "still monitoring the whereabouts of all the displaced people."

Pansar also notes the crops in the area awaiting harvest. 

"We really need to focus on recovery as we prepare to assist residents of Butig when they return. Some of them still have rice and coffee left idle in the fields, especially coffee since it's scheduled for harvest," he said.

No room for complacency
"Most of the areas affected by the conflict have already been recovered, but operations are still ongoing especially in parts of Brgy. Sandab Madaya, Brgy. Sundig, and a portion of Brgy. Dolangan," Pansar said.

When asked if the Maute group still poses a threat to the municipality, Pansar said it depends on government response.

"If the government will be complacent, the group can regroup and return. But if targeted government operations continue, the group will continue to weaken, maybe even be eliminated completely," Pansar said. 

Pansar notes that only a few residents of Butig are involved in the local terror group, with "most of the members coming from other municipalities and provinces."

"Our goal is really to help the people return to their communities," he added. 

Pansar said that "coordination with the military will also be crucial in the residents' return," as Lucman assured that "coordination with the military forces have been constant throughout the operations."

Fighting misinformation
The municipal government also notes the prevalence of misinformation about their situation, especially online.

"Many misconceptions have to be addressed, especially in Facebook where a lot of false information are posted," Pansar said.

He cited the posts that claimed that Butig's seat of government was taken by ISIS as an example. 

"The old municipal hall that was taken by the Maute group was already abandoned early this year. After the recently concluded elections, we transferred the seat of government to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA)\so when they said that Butig was conquered by ISIS that clearly wasn't true," he clarified

"I hope people will be more responsible in saying things online," he said. "There are many sources of verified information and we should turn to these sources instead of spreading misinformation." (BPI/PIA-10)

ARMM holds 3rd LGU summit

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is holding the 3rd Local Government Unit (LGU) Summit geared towards regional development from November 30 to December 1 in Davao City.

A total of 116 municipal mayors with their planning officers, two city mayors, five provincial governors, and members of the 9th regional legislative assembly are expected to participate in the two-day summit.

To be held in coordination with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) national office, this year’s summit carries the theme “Pagkamulat, Pagbabago, Pag-Unlad”.

Sharifa Pearlsia A. Dans, assistant regional DILG, said secretary Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio of Davao City is expected to be present during the summit's opening program. “The two-day event is actually a development summit, the activities which are dialogues and workshops are geared towards development.”

The summit will be a venue to facilitate dialogue on current issues at the local level and secure the commitment of the LGUs in improving or scaling up their good governance standing and eventually to initiate plans for national and regional programs prioritization.

To set the tone of the summit on the first day, ARMM Executive Secretary Laisa Alamia will discuss the region’s development framework, followed by the state of local governance that will be delivered by DILG-ARMM Secretary Atty. Noor Hafizullah Abdullah.

There will also be a presentation of ARMM and Local Development Investment Program for the year 2017 as well as workshops on priority programs, activities, and projects. 

Local chief executives will also have dialogues with officials of national government agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, Department of Public Works and Highways, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Labor and Employment, and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.

“Since it is the first time that the president is handling the ARMM, we look forward to more local chief executives who would be aligned with the administration in terms of development,” Dans said. (BPI/PIA-10)

OPAPP consults Lanao traditional leaders on Bangsamoro peace process

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)  conducted a consultation with traditional leaders from the Lanao provinces on November 24, in recognition of the important role of the Sultanates in the attaining lasting peace.

The consultation dubbed “Peacebuilding Conversations of the Ranao Traditional Leaders’ Peace Tables” was organized in partnership with the Provincial Government of Lanao del Sur to help traditional leaders understand the peace agenda of the Duterte administration and get their views for the Bangsamoro peace process.

The Duterte administration’s blue print for peace and development was presented during the consultation. Issues and concerns as well as the aspirations of traditional leaders were also brought up.

OPAPP Secretary Jesus Dureza said they are gathering inputs from traditional leaders on how they envision their roles and contribute in the peace building efforts of the government.

He underscored the Sultanates’ participation in the peace process as crucial in responding to the historical injustice to the Bangsamoro which President Duterte wants to address.

Dureza explained that the present peace road map is inclusive. He said every group has its own dynamics but they want to pursue inclusivity in the process where all sectors are involved and will take ownership.

We admit there are scars but we must heal the wounds for peace to work, he added.

Dureza also reminded the traditional leaders that peace agreement is not the only way in addressing the problems of the society.

We can sign and implement many peace agreements but if everyone will not work to improve their lives, then nothing will happen, he emphasized.

He said the government will provide the needed infrastructure and framework but the real work should be done by everyone in their own respective communities. (APB/PIA-10)

Lanao Del Sur launches operation manual for women, peace center

In a bid to promote gender equality in the province, the provincial government of Lanao del Sur launched on November 21, the operation manual of the Provincial Women and Peace Center (PWPC).

The manual specifies the processes and work flows that are to be adopted by the PWPC in the delivery of gender-responsive programs and services.

Guidelines on the facility and human resource requirements as well as the institutional arrangements are also spelled out in the manual.

The launching was attended by gender and development (GAD) focal persons from the different line agencies and municipalities and local media practitioners.

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary for Peace-Building and Development, Diosita Andot, also graced the event.

The Center was established with the support of the OPAPP and the ARMM Regional Government through the Regional Commission on the Bangsamoro Women (RCBW) in line with the government’s Localizing the National Action Plan (LNAP) on women, peace and security program that targets to bring national programs to grassroots level, especially in conflict-affected areas.

Andot said the establishment of the PWPC is a demonstration of the government’s active support and leadership in the implementation of international commitments on women, peace and security under the UN Security Resolutions 1325 and 1820.

Monaima Adiong, provincial GAD Focal Person, said the Center seeks to provide women in the province access to programs and support services related to GAD and peace-building and address concerns of women especially those affected by conflict and other related issues.

Located inside the Provincial Capitol compound, the PWPC will house the different activities of women groups, provide capability building on GAD, and training to capacitate women to be economically-empowered.

The Center will also provide referral services for the violence against women (VAW) survivors, Adiong added. (APB/PIA-10)

DSWD-ARMM runs exhibit on early childhood care, devt

The Department of Social Welfare and Development-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DSWD-ARMM) is running an exhibit on Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) this week at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex (SKCC) in Marawi in line with the region’s celebration of the 24th National Children’s Month.

The exhibit opened Monday and will run until Friday, November 18. It highlights the four stages or cornerstones of development of young children and is the second in a series of four activities included in the DSWD-ARMM’s ECCD Summit.

The ECCD is defined under Republic Act 8980 as the full range of health, nutrition, early education, and social services programs that provide for the holistic needs of children 0-8 years old.

It rests on four cornerstones beginning from the first 1,000 days of a child, the preschool years from two to four years old, the primary school years from five to eight years old, and the involvement of the local government in childhood policies.

The four cornerstones of the ECCD harness consolidated efforts and combined interventions from different sectors to have greater impact on child development in terms of health, nutrition, early education, child protection, and their welfare’s prioritization in local government planning.

Kay Lintongan, DSWD-ARMM specialist on Child and Youth Welfare Program (CYWP), said that aside from showcasing the inherent features of children’s development stages, the exhibit aims to provide parents and stakeholders helpful information on the key roles they play in support to the developmental needs of children.

The other regional agencies taking part in the exhibit are the members of the Regional Subcommittee for the Welfare of Children (RSWC), which are comprised of the Department of Health (DOH) through its National Nutrition Council, the Department of Education (DepEd), and the Department of Interior Local Government (DILG).

In the ARMM, member agencies of the RSWC are implementing the following programs anchored on the ECCD: the DILG’s training on the mainstreaming of ECCD in the Local Government Units, the NNC’s ECCD Intervention Package for first 1,000 days in the nine municipalities of Sulu, involving Infant and Young Child Feeding and Nutrition in Emergency Trainings, the DepEd’s Kindergarten Curriculum Framework, and the DSWD’s Child and Youth Welfare Program, and operation of and 120-days supplemental feeding in its 2,092 Child Development Centers (formerly known as Day Care Centers) across the region.
The region’s ECCD program is also strongly supported by international non-government organizations such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Australian Aid, and BRAC International, which implements programs that puts primary emphasis on early childhood development in the curriculum of their education programs such as the Alternative Delivery Model and the Tahderriya.

This week’s exhibit will be followed by an ECCD Forum and Workshop on Seamless ECCD which form part of the DSWD-ARMM’s ECCD Summit in line with the National Children’s Month celebration. (BPI/PIA-10)

ARMM celebrates 27th founding anniversary

The people in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) are set to showcase their diverse culture, traditions, and way of life as the region marks its 27th founding anniversary this month.

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman urged all sectors to take part in the celebration and said "the Moro here look forward to more years of pride and success.”

He said this year's celebration will highlight the 27 years of history, achievements, and progress of the autonomous region.

The creation of an autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao is enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

The ARMM was established in 1989 by virtue of Republic Act 6734 and was originally composed of the provinces of Sulu, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Tawi-Tawi.

The province of Basilan and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan became part of the region following the expansion of  the ARMM’s powers and geographical composition under a new organic act - Republic Act 9054, which was the result of the Final Peace Agreement between the national government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

As part of the celebration, the regional government has lined up several activities this month and on December.

Among which are a food festival that would feature the cuisines of the different major Moro tribes in the ARMM, a film showing, cooking showdown, sports festival, search for the ARMM’s Rajah and Ranee, financial literacy forum, cultural presentation, regional governors' peacetivity, People's Day, week of peace, local government unit's summit and Gabi ng Parangal.

Tourism Sec. Ayesha Mangudadatu-Dilangalen said the celebration will highlight the rich culture of the Moro people as well as the variety of local products from the different ARMM provinces.

"It's a great opportunity for tourists to discover the rich culture of the region," Sec. Dilangalen said.

The different regional line agencies will also provide and deliver free legal and medical services on the People's Day on November 19.

The 636th commemoration of the Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Day in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi on November 7 marked the official kick-off of the anniversary celebration. It will culminate on December 19, during the Shariff Kabunsuan Festival, with a fluvial procession at the Rio Grande de Mindanao in Cotabato City.

In 2015, the ARMM opted to mark the region’s anniversary with a muted celebration in the wake of a wave of terror attacks in different parts of the world that claimed the lives of hundreds. (BPI/PIA-10)