(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Monday, 27 May 2024) At 3:00 AM today, the center of the eye of Typhoon "AGHON" {EWINIAR} was estimated based on all available data at 95 km East of Baler, Aurora (15.6°N, 122.5°E) with maximum sustained winds of 140 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 170 km/h. It is moving North Northeastward at 10 km/h. Southwesterly Windflow affecting the western section of Southern Luzon and Visayas. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—˜π—”π—§π—›π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—œπ—‘π—— 𝗔𝗑𝗗 π—–π—’π—”π—¦π—§π—”π—Ÿ π—ͺπ—”π—§π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Light to moderate winds coming from South to Southwest will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.5 meters).

Sunday, 24 September 2023

Kagawasan 143 Peace Center: One-stop shop for peace, reconciliation; a 1st in PH

By Nora C. Lanuza

BUTUAN CITY – In the pursuit for lasting peace and reconciliation, the provincial government of Agusan del Norte and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) Eastern Mindanao officially opened the Kagawasan 143 Peace Center, the first one-stop shop peace center facility in the country, that is located at the Camp Bancasi, this city.

The Kagawasan 143 Peace Center addresses the critical need for a dedicated infrastructure to support the effective and timely implementation of the programs for the former rebels (FRs) such as the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP), with its multifaceted approach, it requires a centralized hub for efficient management and implementation.  In the absence of such facility, the program's full potential is compromised due to absence of necessary resources, focus and coordination.

With Kagawasan 143 Peace Center, it emerges as a solution that provides the essential framework and resources needed to effectively cater to the needs of FRs and ensure the streamlined execution of ECLIP, thereby facilitating their successful reintegration into society.

The facility will spearhead the overall implementation of the provincial peace-building efforts, programs, and measures to prioritize and harmonize the delivery of basic services and social interventions to the FRs, their families and communities.

The establishment of the Kagawasan 143 Peace Center, according to Provincial Social Welfare and Development chief, Dr. Silver Joy Tejano, is a direct response to the mandate set forth in Executive Order No. 70, which underscores the need for a holistic approach in resolving local communist armed conflicts. With this directive, the province of Agusan del Norte took a prompt and proactive measure to address insurgency within its jurisdiction, positioning itself not only as a regional but a national leader in this endeavor.

The ceremonial ribbon-cutting of the Kagawasan 143 Peace Center, was led by provincial Governor Ma. Angelica Rosedell M. Amante, together with 402nd brigade commander, BGen. Ariel Adonis Orio, Philippine National Police Caraga regional director PBGen. Kirby John Brion Kraft, and Oliver Binancilan, area head of OPAPRU-Eastern Mindanao.

The operation of the facility will be chaired by Governor Amante, together with PSWDO as the head secretariat and peace center managers, with members from the private, identified government offices in the province and faith-based organization.

Governor Amante said that the Kagawasan 143 Peace Center will take the lead in coordinating the broader implementation of the provincial peace-building initiatives, programs, and measures. “The peace center symbolizes our steadfast dedication to peace-building and its integral role in achieving lasting peace and development, as alignment with the broader national objective. The provincial government will do all means to protect, assist and provide  comprehensive support to the needs of the former rebels (FRs),” the governor said.

Amante also asked the FRs for their support and cooperation with the government, saying that the government is sincere in its promise and commitment to assist them to live peacefully with their families, and provide them with livelihood stating, “We need your cooperation, let’s help one another to have this program (Kagawasan 143) a success,” Amante called on.

In his message, Oliver Binancilan of OPAPRU Eastern Mindanao, shared that the country’s first-ever Peace Center is patterned after Davao City’s Peace 911 initiative that is seen to bridge understanding and support for the FRs. Accordingly,  it included the provision of necessary resources and opportunities during the FRs reintegration to mainstream society.

Further, Binancilan announced that OPAPRU will transfer P5 million to initially fund the operations of the center that will also strengthen the implementation of the  OPAPRU’s Localized Peace Engagements (LPE) cluster's Transformation Program in the province of Agusan del Norte.

The Kagawasan 143 Peace Center  shall also oversee, assess, implement, and monitor the implementation of the Transformation Program of OPARU which have four major components namely, (1) Security that addressing the security requirement of FRs and their families; (2) Confidence-Building Measures on government sincerity in sustaining transformation of FRs and communities; (3) Healing and Reconciliation that covers the drivers of conflict and healing wounds caused by the insurgency; and (4) Socio-economic and peace dividends and development of conflict affected and conflict- vulnerable areas.

The Transformation Program for FRs, their families and communities is intended to provide a holistic and convergent implementation of the program’s components leading to community resiliency with long-term goal of ending local communist armed conflict.

With the establishment of the country’s first-ever peace center, Alyas Maria, who surrendered on February 19, 2023 with her husband who was a pilot member of the new people’s army (NPAs) for 50 years and their five children, was thankful for the sincere service and attention they received from the government, especially from governor Amante and the Philippine Army saying, “Dako among pasalamat sa gobyerno, gitratar kami ug tarong, sukwahi sa gisilsil sa among alimpatakan sa mga rebelde, nga kami patyon kung kami mosurender sa mga sundalo (We are very thankful to the government for their sincere and kind treatment is a proof of the lies of the NPAs. We were treated with dignity).”

“Kani nga peace center, dakong tabang kanamo aron mabag-o ang among kinabuhi (This peace center will help us transform us to have normal, peaceful and happy lives),” Alyas Maria added.

BGen. Orio, of the AFP, is also positive that with the peace center, the needs of the FRs, systematic reconciliation process and attainment of lasting peace in the province will be achieved, as also agreed and supported  by PBGen. Kraft of the PNP. Both officials are thankful for the sincere support and commitment of the provincial government in providing a venue to address the needs of the FRs and articulate into action the love for the country. (NCLM, PIA-Agusan del Norte)