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Peace is a responsibility. Usec. Marivel Sacendoncillo gives her message to the participants of the Forum on Positive Peace held last January 9 at Grand Menseng Hotel, Davao City.

“Peace is not something we enjoy but rather it is everyone’s responsibility” is the resounding message from Usec Marivel Sacendoncillo as she emphasized the importance of every Filipino in achieving a lasting peace for the country in addressing the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Regional Directors and other stakeholders in the Forum on Positive Peace held on January 9 in Davao City.

The forum aims to break the common misconception of peace—that it is not merely the absence of war but constantly aiming for development in the community which is branded as Positive Peace.

Gracing the forum is Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte who showcased Davao City’s Peace 911, a community-driven peace and development initiative that values the role of the experts and convergence.  She shared the success of Peace 911 particularly in Paquibato District of Davao City.

Ms. Irene Morada Santiago who heads the Davao City Peace and Development Committee also shared the peacebuilding concept of the city to the DILG especially in this crucial time of the massive implementation of the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP).

Similarly, Director of Partnerships of the Institute for Economics and Peace Mr. Charles Allen gave the participants a global perspective on peace and the how peacebuilding came about especially in developing countries.

On the second day of the activity, the DILG participants were invited to visit the 16th Infantry Batallion of the Second Infantry Division in Panabo City, Davao del Norte. In this venue, they were able to hear testimonies from Paquibato’s sectoral representatives and assigned military personnel on how they were able to successfully achieve convergence in their locality.

Lisod. Barangay Chairman Jessie Areja shared how hard it was for him and his family to deal with the incidents of conflict in their area.

Lisod. Barangay Chairman Jessie Areja shared how hard it was for him and his family to deal with the incidents of conflict in their area.

Discussing the challenges they faced during the implementation of Peace 911, Barangay Chairman Jessie Areja shared first-hand experience in transforming Paquibato through the Peace 911 project.  “Naging 180 degree turn ang Paquibato, from war zone to peace zone,” according to Chairman Areja.  He believes that a big factor was the value given to the community in the planning process.

Representative of the Paquibato Indigenous Peoples (IPs) Federation Mr. Konulan Jose Amban also stressed the value of having policies that are in consideration of culture and belief of the IPs. Other sectoral representatives such as the Sangguniang Kabataan and women also shared their experiences in the process.

Given the immense role of the DILG in peacebuilding, the interface with the sectoral representatives of Paquibato became a platform for the DILG Executives to replicate the strategies used by the Paquibato Community.

USec. Sacendoncillo ended the activity on the note that the ‘pains and the gains’ from the Paquibato experience shall serve as a learning model in the implementation of the RCSP.

In the coming years, the DILG shall continue fulfilling its role as a convergence facilitator in the regions in order for the government to be felt in the smallest of communities.

 

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