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OPAPP lauds Japan for peace and dev’t efforts in Quezon Province

Unisan, Quezon, July 3 – The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) lauded the Government of Japan for its peace and development assistance efforts in this province, particularly in Bondoc Peninsula, one of the poorest and conflict-stricken areas in the Philippines.

A project dubbed as “Inter-agency Programme to Nurture Peace, Security and Decent Work through Local Development in Conflict Areas of the Philippines (Bondoc-LED Project)” is being funded by Japan through the United Nations (UN) Human Security Trust Fund since March 2010. Implementation of the program is moving towards its completion in April 2013.

The Bondoc-LED Project is a joint undertaking of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). OPAPP serves as one of the oversight agencies, while local government units (LGUs) and non-government organizations are the implementing bodies.

“It is a peace-building program that aims to achieve peace and development in conflict-affected areas in the Bondoc Peninsula,” said OPAPP Area Manager Paul Escober during the turn-over ceremony of agricultural inputs and site visit held in this town.

Also present were Congressman Danilo Suarez, Unisan Mayor Nonato Puache, First Secretaries Ryutaro Aoki and Masami Hirata, Agriculture and Labor Attaches, respectively, of the Embassy of Japan; Kazuyuki Tsurumi, FAO Representative in the Philippines; Concepcion Sardana of ILO Philippines; and Lieutenant Colonel Monico Abang, Commander of the 1st Special Forces Battalion Special Operations Command, Philippine Army.

Hirata emphasized that “the program, on its third year of implementation, aims to achieve peace through local economic development.”

“It is conceived to attain human security objectives, expansion of livelihood, increase agricultural productivity to maintain sustainable livelihood,” he added.

Further, he underscored that “Japan will stay committed to the peace goals inherent in this program, with OPAPP’s full support to local efforts to ensure human security for all.”

During the ceremony, bags of fertilizer, rice, corn and vegetable seeds, as well as 10 heads of carabao and 20 heads of cattle were turned over to beneficiaries composed of farmers, fisherfolks and women.

The Bondoc-LED Project covers the municipalities of Unisan, Catanauan, Mulanay and San Narciso which are located in the Bondoc Peninsula in Quezon.

It has already benefited around 3,528 individuals (farmers, women, youth, indigenous peoples, micro-entrepreneurs) or 54% of the overall 3-year target of 6,000 beneficiaries.

Addressing underdevelopment

“Peace, security, and development are inseparable. They are being addressed by the LGUs with good governance,” Abang said.

He explained that “underdevelopment and poverty are breeding grounds of conflict and despair prevalent in conflict-affected areas.”

“We can never win peace…as long as there are conditions in the communities that make people desperate such as poverty, disease, ignorance, and injustice.”

PAMANA program in Quezon

To complement existing peace and development efforts, such as the Bondoc-LED Project, the national government has been implementing PAMANA or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) program.

PAMANA is the government’s program and framework for peace and development in areas affected by conflict and communities covered by signed peace agreements. It is being implemented in seven zones across the country in which Quezon Province is included.

“PAMANA aims to reconstruct, rehabilitate, and develop conflict-affected areas nationwide,” Escobar stated.

OPAPP and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) have allotted P35 million in 2012 for Quezon, particularly in the towns of Buenavista, San Narciso, San Francisco, Catanauan, and Mulanay.

The DILG, together with the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, takes lead in PAMANA, while OPAPP oversees its implementation. #

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