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PIA Press Release

Peace workers bond to consolidated efforts

ICC Cotabato City (14 November) -- To widen constituencies in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the armed combatants-turned-peace and development advocates are establishing a 'peace parliament' to discuss of the communities in a wider venue.

"Through the peace parliament, we can discuss together the peace and development issues in our respective provinces and share our knowledge, experiences and lessons learned on peacebuilding," said Kublai Elias, president of Tawi-Tawi Peace and Development Advocates (PDAs) League, during the recent meeting of peace advocates in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.

"Then we can help one another to address some of this concerns," he said.

The PDAs, most of whom were combatants of the Moro National Liberation Front, are now voluntarily doing community organizing, resource mobilization and LGUs, civil society groups, and donor programs. They are working in conflict-affected or conflict-vulnerable areas that are declared as Peace and Development Communities.

The PDAs have organized themselves into a league or alliance in at least 15 provinces of Mindanao and become partners in peace and development efforts in each province.

In ARMM, the five leagues include the Kadtabanga Foundation for Peace and Development Advocates, Inc, (KFPDAI) in Maguindanao; Kalilintad Peace and Development Advocates Network Inc. (KPDNI) in Lanao del Sur; Kamahardikaan PDAL, Inc. in Basila; Lupah Sug Advocates for Peace and Development (LSAPDA) in Sulu; and the Tawi-Tawi PDAL, Inc. the PDALs in Basilan and Tawi-Tawi have been accredited into the provincial development councils.

After working for more 10 years in the communities following the signing of peace agreement between the Government and the MNLF, the PDALs saw the need to consolidate their efforts to make significant contribution in pursuing peace and development in Mindanao.

"Kung magkaisa kaming lahat ng PDALs, maging matibay kami bilang isang grupo sa ano mang gawin at maging mas malakas ang aming boses. May kasabihan kami sa community na kung itali and buhok, kaya nitong hilahin kahit barko (If all of us PDALs will be united, we'll become strong as a group and we'll have louder voice. As a community adage goes, when the strands of hair are tied together, it can even pull a ship)," Hji. Amer Sagusara, president of Kalilintad PDAL said.

"Mas madali kung magtutulungan at mapag-usapan ang mga isyu sa kanya-kanyang probinsya lalo na ang yong mga common issues (It's easier to help one another and to discuss issues in each province, especially those common issues)," said Lominog Alawi of Kalilintad PDAL.

He added that peace workers always have to deal with challenges on the ground and it would be a great help if they would be in contact with other peacebuilders and learn form their experiences.

The PDALs are among the key partners of the GoP-UN ACT for Peace Programme in helping the transformation of 251 Peace and Development Communities in Mindanao and Palawan. It has also supported the PDALs in strengthening their capacities to plan, implement, manage and monitor projects.

Currently, the Kadtabanga Foundation is implementing Level 2 water system projects amounting to P4.4 million in two communities in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Shariff Kabunsuan while the LSAPDI is supervising the installation of a Level 2 water system that will serve four barangays in Maimbung Sulu amounting to P4.6 million. (Act for Peace Programme/PIA 12) [top]

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