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PIA Press Release

PGMA graces 1st Mindanao Cooperative Peace Forum in CDO

by Jorie C. Valcorza

Cagayan de Oro City (30 October) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo witnessed yesterday (October 29) the historical convergence of more than 5,000 cooperatives in Mindanao joined by the Muslims, lumads, churches, ulamas, academes and rotarians declaring their collective intent to build peace in Mindanao.

The delegates support the truism that cooperativism, by nature and nurture, is the roadmap to peace in Mindanao. They also believed that when the Mindanawons work together towards that vision of oneness in diversity, then this wonderful island with its beautiful people will finally be in harmony.

Dubbed as 1st Mindanao Cooperative Peace Forum, they convened at Xavier University Gymnasium to craft cooperative agenda for peace and to showcase grassroots' peace initiatives.

The handover of the Mindanao Cooperative Peace Declaration to President Arroyo underlines the activity.

The President expressed how impressed she was with the move of the group in uniting the spirit of cooperativism as channel for peace and development.

During her speech, President Arroyo urged big cooperatives to extend assistance to small-scale coops and act as "big brother."

She praised the cooperatives support for microenterprise, noting that 60% of the cooperatives in Mindanao were able to provide 3 million jobs since 2001 until June this year.

President Arroyo added that development must come hand in hand with peace and acknowledged that the problem is sometimes rooted in economic exclusion.

Ethnic communities lack opportunities for development, the President in her commitment to provide land security as well as equal opportunities to the indigenous people revealed that her administration distributed about 1.7 million hectares out of the 3.6 million Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT) and Certificate of Land Titles (CALTs) to Mindanao benefiting some 400,000 tribal communities.

The President also noted that the national government has been integrating programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Health (DOH) and other anti-poverty agencies into a national welfare program to protect the poorest from the global crisis, and to help those whose earnings are limited by illness, disability, loss of job, age and so on through livelihood projects, skills and technology transfer, emergency and temporary employment, pension funds, food aid and cash subsidies, child nutrition and adult health care, medical missions, salary loans, insurance, housing programs, educational and other savings schemes, cheaper medicine and microfinance.

Meanwhile, Atty. Mordino Cua and Professor Edna Aberilla received the Cooperative Lifetime Achievement Award from the President. A Posthumous award was likewise presented to Mr. Marieto Ga and Gullermo Cua. (PIA-10) [top]

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