GPH, CBA-CPLA mark 1st year of MOA implementation
Manila, July 4 – Exactly a year ago, the Philippines made history when a former rebel force pledged to genuinely embrace the mainstream of society by laying down their arms, changing their name and becoming an instrument of peace and development in the Cordillera.
In keeping with its commitment to implement the 1986 Mt. Data Sipat Ceasefire Agreement (Peace Accord) signed with the Government of the Philippines (GPH) under President Corazon Aquino's administration, the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA), together with its political wing, the Cordillera Bodong Administration (CBA), made a definitive move to fully transform itself into a socio-economic, unarmed force by signing a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the P-Noy administration on July 4, 2011.
The MOA contains six elements that guide the CBA-CPLA’s transformation: final disposition of arms and forces; economic reintegration of CPLA members; community development; inter-municipal and inter-barangay development projects; documentation of the CBA-CPLA struggle; and transformation of the CBA-CPLA into a socio-economic organization.
To ensure its smooth implementation, Pres. Benigno Aquino III issued Executive Order 49, directing the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to craft the guidelines for the MOA, and enjoining all government agencies and departments for their full cooperation and assistance.
First year of implementation
OPAPP Undersecretary Maria Cleofe Sandoval cited some of the achievements of the MOA on its first year.
“As part of its transformation into a socio-economic organization, the CBA-CPLA has changed its name into Cordillera Forum for Peace and Development as registered under the Securities and Exchange Commission,” she said.
Sandoval also said that 10 people’s organizations (POs) have been organized by the CPLA in the different provinces of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to serve as conduits of livelihood projects.
In December, 2011, funds were downloaded directly to the local government units for implementation of various development projects for CBA-CPLA communities through the PAMANA or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) program.
PAMANA is the government’s program and framework for peace and development in areas affected by conflict and communities covered by existing peace agreements. It aims to reduce poverty, improve governance and empower communities in situations of armed conflict.
Some of the ongoing PAMANA projects in CBA-CPLA areas include improvement of Ampaliok-Pakpaka farm-to-market road (FMR) in Ampaliok, Luba, Abra; improvement of Pega-Butigue-Batotong irrigation canal in Sabnangan, Luba, Abra; construction of potable water system in Dominglay, Licuaan Baay; construction of Calafug-Masico road in Calafug, Conner, Apayao; construction of warehouse and solar drying facility in Malibang, Pudtol, Apayao; construction of Nabuangan-Paddawan road in Nabuangan, Conner, Apayao; and improvement of Fubuyan-Fangorao FMR in Maligcong, Bontoc, Mt. Province.
Concreting of Junction to Caragasan Road in Caragasan, Alfonso Lista, Ifugao has recently been finished and will be open to the community in two weeks to 24 days. The rehabilitation and reopening of Dangadangan-Copcopit FMR in Dalipey, Bakun, Benguet, on the other hand, is 90 percent complete.
Soon to be implemented are construction of Kasalalan Bridge in Dominglay, Licuaan Baay, Abra; construction of agricultural tramlines in Palina, Kibungan, Benguet; construction of Madaymen-Palina road in Palina, Kibungan, Benguet; construction of potable water system in Uhaj, Banaue, Ifugao; improvement of Junction-San Fernando Elementary School road in San Fernando, Banaue, Ifugao; Minanga Community electrification project in Sta. Maria, Alfonso Lista, Ifugao; construction of Caragasan Tribal Center in Caragasan, Alfonso Lista, Ifugao; improvement of the Betwagan access road in Betwagan, Sadanga, Mt. Province; construction of Nongob-Patalim communal irrigation system in Anabel, Sadanga, Mt. Province; construction of warehouse and multi-purpose pavement in Babbanoy, Tanudan, Kalinga; construction of Bailey Bridge in Cagaluan, Pasil Kalinga, among others.
On economic reintegration, a total of 1,221 CPLA members were profiled to determine socio-economic interventions appropriate for them. “Out of the total number profiled, the CPLA affirmed 1,221 names as their official members who will be covered by the economic reintegration provision,” said Sandoval.
She added that as part of social preparation, Enterprise Development Orientation activities were conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Social Welfare and Development and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority among the members of the 10 CPLA-organized POs in the six CAR provinces.
On the final disposition of arms and forces, Sandoval said that guidelines for the integration of 120 CPLA members into the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have been finalized for the approval of the Department of National Defense. “The CPLA, on the other hand, has already firmed up its initial list of possible candidates for AFP enlistment,” she stated adding that processing of candidates began in July and full training is expected to end by December.
Also part of the MOA is the documentation of the CBA-CPLA history to recount the struggles experienced and gains achieved by the group towards peace and development in the Cordillera. “The draft, which was completed by CBA’s Fernando Bahatan, has been reviewed already by their group. It is now in the process of external review and final editing,” Sandoval shared.
Sandoval expressed optimism that the MOA between the government and the CBA-CPLA will accomplish more as it enters its second year of implementation.
“There have been challenges during the first year, but these have made us – the government and the CBA-CPLA – all the more patient and persistent in realizing the goals of the MOA. I hope that the entire government, as well as the public, will support us in these endeavors.”
Partnership is key
In an interview, CPLA chair Arsenio Humiding urged the local government units in CAR to persevere in the implementation of the MOA. “The key to the successful implementation of development projects is partnership,” he stated, stressing that the CBA-CPLA will do continue doing its best in working with concerned government agencies.
“Let us talk, patch up differences, agree on and implement what needs to be done for the communities of Cordillera,” he said.
Humiding added that there have been many obstacles during the MOA’s first year. “The process was really difficult. We hope that before 2012 ends, implementation of all projects will be finished.”
He added that he looks forward to the complete transformation of the CBA-CPLA into a socio-economic entity and hopes that they can be a part of “framing a plan on how to secure communities and development projects from lawless elements.” #