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PIA Press Release

PGMA strengthens mechanism on interfaith activities

Manila (24 March) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has acted to strengthen the government's institutional mechanism on interfaith activities as a tool for promoting peace and upholding human dignity.

In Executive Order (EO) No. 714, the President said improvements in the existing institutional arrangements were necessary to enhance interfaith activities.

Under EO 714, which she signed March 12, the President also renamed the National Committee on Interfaith Cooperation (NCIC) as the Council on Interfaith Initiatives (CII).

The NCIC was created under EO 626, which was issued last year to "consolidate, rationalize, and ensure the consistency of the country's policies and position on various interfaith initiatives and forums in and outside the country."

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, who released EO 714, said CII is intended to strengthen "the policy of peace, cooperation and amity with all nations as well as maintain peace and order in the country for every Filipino to enjoy the blessings of democracy."

Under EO 714, the CII shall be the highest policy-setting body for the country's interfaith initiatives and involvement both here and abroad. The chairman of the Presidential Council on Values Formation (PCVF) will head the CII, with the secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (PAPP) as members.

The EO also stipulated the creation of the Presidential Committee on Interfaith Initiatives (PCII) that would handle and implement all policies set forth by the CII.

PCII will be composed of representatives, with ranks not lower than Assistant Secretary, from the PCVF, the DFA, and from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace (OPAPP). The PCVF representative will act as chairman of the PCII.

Among the important functions of the PCII are the following:

1. To formulate and submit for the approval of the CII, a Philippine Plan of Action on Interfaith Cooperation (PPAIC) after coordinating with all government agencies, local government units, the academe, and all non-governmental organizations;

2. Monitor and ensure that the goals and targets within the country under the approved PPAIC are met;

3. Represent the country and articulate Philippine interfaith policies and position in different local and foreign fora;

4. To ensure that the country is well-represented and able to maintain its leadership and its effective participation in the various interfaith initiatives and activities;

5. To receive, approve and prioritize program and project proposals consistent with the approved PPAIC and make a quarterly reports to the CII on the status of the PPAIC.

Under the EO, the President tasked all government departments, agencies and offices to assist and support PCII's functions by creating interfaith desks and the designation of focal persons who shall be responsible for undertaking PCII approved interfaith related programs and projects in their respective offices.

The President also directed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release P1 million from the President's Contingent Fund to cover the expenses of the PCII in its 2008 programs and actions. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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