The Regional Peace and Development summit allows representatives from the different sectors to raise their common concerns to the government as a way of addressing development gaps thru appropriate interventions.

May 6, 2021 – In adherence to the 3-phase operationalization of the Sectoral Unification Capacity Development and Empowerment and Mobilization (SUCBEM) Cluster SONA Campaign Plan and its related activities, the MIMAROPA SUCBEM cluster headed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government under the leadership of Regional Director Wilhelm Suyko, CESO IV, convened for the conduct of the phase 1: Regional Conference on Peace and Development (RCPD) at the Mindoro State University-Calapan City Campus.

The RCPD intends to execute the formation of Regional Level multi-sectoral assembly with the aim of ratifying and formalizing the submission of a peace and development agenda. It is a concerted effort of various agencies including NAPC, DAR, PCUP, DOLE, DENR, DOJ, DEPED, CHED, DSWD, DA, DILG, BFAR, DOST, NHA, CDA, PCOO, PIA, NCIP, OPAPP, PNP, NYC, NICA, PA, SOLCOM, and WESCOM.

This provides a platform for advocacy of legitimate sectoral issues and concerns, validate governance and development gaps of communities, and identify needed government interventions to address them.

Ma. Arlyn Redublo, Campus Director of the Mindoro State College warmly welcomed the participants and expressed support of the Institution to the endeavor.

Similarly, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Zarah Magboo representing Governor Humerlito “Bonz” Dolor, conveyed the sincere support of the Provincial Government and assured the different sectors and the public that the government is always ready to be of service to the people.

“Ang programa natin ngayon ay napakaimportante upang madama ng ating mga kababayan na may serbisyo ang gobyerno, may ginagawa ang gobyerno, hindi sila pinapabayaan ng gobyerno, at tunay na kumakalinga ang gobyerno sa bawat isa sa atin,” she added.

She also said that a halfway house for former rebels in Oriental Mindoro is also set to be inaugurated in June this year.

The blended mode of delivering the program allowed maximum participation of the different sectors from the ground including representatives from the sectors of women, farmers, peasants, labor, fisher folks, operators and drivers, indigenous people and student organizations.

From the agriculture sector, among the concerns raised were lack of IEC on organic agriculture for health consciousness, lack of trading post for farm produce, high volume rice importation, lack of post-harvest facilities, lack of security of tenure over settlements, illegal fishing in various areas, and pressing issues on West Philippine Sea.

Meanwhile, the consolidated issues from the peasant sector focused on Land Tenure Improvement (LTI) and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development and Sustainability Program (ARBDSP). These include primary issues on land classification, land distribution, marketing farm produce, limited land productivity, and interest rates for credit assistance program.

The regional conference also allowed representatives from the youth sector to elevate primary issues on promotion and support to combat depression, revised policy on scholarship grants, strengthened partnership to ensure protection of students from infiltration of CTGs, continuing education program for IPs, replacement of damaged school facilities, improvement of school calendar of activities, and home-based learning support program.

Representative from the labor sector also echoed concerns on genuine representation from the labor sector in policy and decision making, COVID-19 quarantine leave benefits, frequent power interruption affecting work productivity, support to displaced and informal workers, and limited transportation due to travel restrictions.

In addition, representative from the women sector raised alarming concerns on women and children protection, violence against women, lack of protection and injustice for victims of abuses, and insufficient work opportunities. The sector also recommended that women be more educated and oriented on laws that govern women’s rights and equal protection.

Lastly, presenter from the IP sector reiterated the rights to ancestral domain, right to self-governance and empowerment, and right to social justice and human rights. Similar concerns on small town lottery that affects lives of IP communities and the alarming increase of monkeys that destroy agricultural crops in the island of Banton were also lobbied before the concerned agencies.

Alongside their common problems raised are their recommendations to address such issues.

For NAPC Head Executive Assistant Elias Labro, Jr., the forum is a perfect venue for the different sectors of the government to hear and voice out their problems and eventually find ways for the government to address them.

Head Executive Assistant Elias C. Labro, Jr., National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC)

“Hindi hangad ng talakayang ito na baguhin ang mga prosesong dinadaanan ng ating mga serbisyong panlipunan. Ang diwa ng EO 70 at ng SUCBEM cluster ay naghahangad na maging bahagi sa kalutasan ng 14 na batayang sektor ng lipunan,” he said.

In a message, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Chairman Allen Capuyan reiterated that it is the job of the government to make sure that any policy gaps and structural defects of the laws implemented for the benefit of different sectors are solved.

“If we will not be solving the issues of the different sectors which contain policy defects and gaps, there is a strong possibility that the problem of insurgency will come back. If we will not find permanency in ending the problems, some of our brothers and sisters will seek refuge to other options,” he added.

In her closing message, DILG Undersecretary Marjorie Jalosjos acknowledged the support and participation of all agencies in bringing about peace and development in the different regions and communities by consolidating and addressing their problems.

DILG Undersecretary Marjorie Jalosjos delivers her message via zoom during the program.

“Dahil sa mga RCPD po natin na umiikot sa ating bansa, mas naiintindihan po ng gobyerno ang pangangailangan ng iba’t-ibang sektor lalong lalo na ang suporta at pakikinig sa sari-saring mga isyu sa kasalukuyang mga polisiya natin,” she said.

The RCPD officially culminated thru the signing of the MIMAROPA Peace and Development Manifesto. ##

By: Whalee Ferrera