BACOLOD CITY – Representatives from various sectors in Western Visayas signed on Tuesday a manifesto expressing their full commitment to shared advocacies towards peace and development at the conclusion of a two-day regional conference held at the Pagbana-ag Activity Center in Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental.
“We recognize that insurgencies, internal disturbances and tensions, and other armed conflicts and threats are not military and security concerns, but are symptomatic of a broader social, economic, and historical problems such as poverty historical justice, social inequality, and lack of inclusivity,” the manifesto read.
The signatories were delegates of the Regional Conference for Peace and Development (RCPD) spearheaded by the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) Sectoral Unification, Capacity-Building, Empowerment and Mobilization (SUBCEM) Cluster.
They represented national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs), government instrumentalities, and various sectors and communities. Among them were about 60 sectoral representatives from women, peasants, fisherfolk, youth, indigenous peoples and formal labor.
In a virtual press briefing, Elika Circa of the Project Management Team of National Task Force-ELCAC and Secretariat of the National Anti-Poverty Commission said the RCPD serves as the first phase of the SUCBEM Cluster Flagship Program for State of the National Address Campaign Plan 2021.
In this phase, the activity aims to harvest expression of solidarity among line agencies and sectors and to introduce to the sectoral participants their role as political leaders and program bearers in their local community.
“It is vital to establish a genuine platform for advocacy and legitimate concerns of the sectors to effectively address gaps in governance and have an idea of what interventions and policy recommendations can help,” Circa added.
The concept of RCPD as a platform allows validation of perceived policy gaps and introduction of sectoral organizing strategy and provides NGAs the opportunity to regain their sectoral building role.
As output, the RCPD, through series of consultations with community leaders and members of the basic sectors, seeks to formulate a regional peace and development agenda that will be used as a reference for the crafting of the final output, which is the Social Reform Agenda of the Basic Sectors.
In the manifesto, the signatories said the whole of nation approach requires the participation of not just the NGAs and LGUs, but the Filipino people as well.
“That the strengthening of institutionalization of convergence platforms and coordination mechanisms shall be adopted as indicators and shall be at the core of NGAs, LGUs and other government instrumentalities for their operations,” it added.
The manifesto also stated that they support the provision of necessary government interventions to Retooled Community Support Program barangays through the NTF 70-assisted barangay development program, and that it will be replicated in more barangays nationwide to ensure inclusive peace and development. (PNA)