“Any initiative that aims to bring out peace in the country should be supported by each agency of the government in order for growth, stability, and development to come to our shores.”
This was the core message of DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista during the opening ceremony of the 2018 PAMANA Peace Conference, which is being held today until tomorrow, November 28, 2018 at the AIM Conference Center in Makati City.
The two-day conference, which carries the theme, “Bridging Social Protection Programs Towards Just and Lasting Peace,”seeks to provide a venue for the exchange of knowledge and expertise on the implementation of peace-promoting initiatives both from the perspective of the DSWD, through the PAMANA program, and its stakeholders, which include representatives from its fellow national government agencies (NGAs), non-government organizations (NGOs), local government units (LGUs), development partners, and the academe.
PAMANA or PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (Peaceful and Resilient Communities Program) is a national government program for peace-building, rehabilitation, reconstruction and development in conflict-affected and vulnerable areas. Anchored on the Peace Agreement of 2000, it aims to bring back the government to identified PAMANA areas by ensuring that communities will benefit from improved delivery of basic services and are served by responsive, transparent and accountable local government units.
The main goal of the program is to improve community resilience to conflict by reducing poverty, improving governance, and empowering communities based on the principles of improved and converged delivery of basic services, transparent and responsive local governance, and respect for the rights of internally displaced persons. It also aims to extend the government’s development interventions to isolated, hard-to-reach, and conflict-affected communities to ensure that they are not left behind.
As the lead agency in social protection, the DSWD is one of the national government agencies implementing the PAMANA program in 11 regions since 2011. Some of the 12,065 projects under the program are being managed by DSWD through Kalahi-CIDSS, Sustainable Livelihood Program, Disaster Response Management and Community Programs and Services.
These projects include core shelter assistance, cash-for-work, water systems, road construction and improvement, barangay health facilities, school buildings, and capacity-building and livelihood programs, among many others.
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) oversees the implementation of the PAMANA program.
“In case of conflict, the PAMANA program is the government’s solution to end animosity by bringing government to the people to an improved and obligated delivery of basic services by responsive, accountable, and transparent local government units in their localities,” Sec. Bautista explained.
Under the PAMANA program, Secretary Bautista said that political, economic, cultural, gender, and social deficiencies are addressed in far-flung areas by the national government through the LGUs which lead to the development of self-confidence and self-esteem of the vulnerable and affected people.
“The government maintains that respect for human rights and the dignity of the internally displaced persons or IDPs must be upheld at all times, and that all rooms must lead to the empowerment of these people and their recovery. All projects concerning these are classified under the PAMANA regular program with the exception of those dealing with specific rebel groups,” Sec. Bautista added.
In closing, the Secretary emphasized that program effectivity, impact delivery, sustainability, and targets are all dependent on the presence of an overall strategy or existing policy framework.
He also underscored the importance of organizational and technical abilities as well as well-defined safety nets dealing with the problem of social exclusion as these, he said, provide stability for vulnerable people in the populace and lessen the ill effects of social marginalization and poverty which leads to conflicts. ###