March 4, 2024

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (Opapru) is committed to sustaining and advancing the gains of the Cordillera Peace Process.

Opapru consultant Thomas Killip said among their initiatives to promote and sustain peace in the region is the consistent implementation of context-based peace and development programs.

He said the Opapru ensures the implementation of the five-year normalization program under the Government of the Philippines-Cordillera Bodong Administration-Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (GPH-CBA-CPLA) peace process that started in 2020.

“Under the agreement, a five-year normalization program is provided wherein all the proposed projects to help enhance the livelihood of the different communities identified as CBA-CPLA areas are implemented. Through these, hopefully their economic livelihood will be improved,” Killip said.

In the Cordillera, there are 232 barangays covered by normalization program.

“Meaning, within five years, all the 232 identified CBA-CPLA communities in the region would have development projects,” Killip said.

Opapru data showed under the normalization program, 437 former members of the CBA-CPLA and their next of kin were employed as forest guards, 220 old guards and martyrs were recognized, and 150 were documented.

Around 400 CBA-CPLA next of kin were also grantees of the Special Education Assistance Program.

Under the Sustainable and Inclusive Peace and Transformation Program in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, 37 communities were served. The program focuses on augmenting community-based livelihood projects of accredited farmers’ associations.

The program also localized the Women and Youth, Peace and Security Agenda in the six provinces of the Cordillera.

Ten nursery foreign-assisted projects in the Cordillera were established to enhance the regreening and reforestation in the region, which is the watershed cradle of North Luzon. These were funded by Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo.

“These are nursery projects given by the Spanish government to the CBA-CPLA in recognition of the fact that the Cordillera is actually the watershed cradle for all outlying provinces around Northern Luzon,” Killip said.

He said the Opapru is implementing more programs to sustain and maintain peace in the region.

Still, Killip said the government needs to do more as “peace is not just the absence of war; peace covers a broad range of issues, some of which could be the root cause of un-peace, like poverty, which is an instance of economic cause and effect.” – Debbie E. Gasingan