“Our poverty reduction efforts are anchored on our ability to invigorate our economy, and the fate of our efforts to boost economic development rest in large part with the success of our peace-building initiatives.”

This according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who on Monday stressed that the Duterte administration recognizes the importance of establishing peace and order in order to meet its poverty reduction targets.

“Economic progress and poverty reduction in the Philippines will depend on the success of development in Mindanao.”

In his keynote speech at the opening ceremonies of the 2019 National Peace Consciousness Month, Nograles stressed that in President Rodrigo Duterte “we have a Chief Executive from Mindanao who knows that meeting the objectives of the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan requires that we achieve significant progress in forging peace with armed groups by 2022 and that it is necessary to significantly improve the delivery of services in conflict-affected and vulnerable communities in the region.”

The Davao native said that according to a World Bank report, “the importance of resolving conflict in Mindanao is necessary if we ultimately want our national poverty reduction efforts to succeed.” 

The World Bank report “Making Growth Work for the Poor: A Poverty Assessment for the Philippines” pins the slow growth and development of Mindanao to conflict in the region. The report points out that “five decades of violence has depressed growth and poverty reduction” as armed conflict has affected over 60% of Mindanao’s population. 

Nograles said government acknowledged the points raised in the report, which recommends that the Philippine government focus poverty reduction efforts on Mindanao as the region is home to two-fifths of the country’s poor. 

“The success of these efforts will be depend greatly on the continued support and cooperation of all stakeholders.”

The same report, according to Nograles, stresses that “economic progress and poverty reduction in the Philippines will depend on the success of development in Mindanao.”

“As we commemorate National Peace Consciousness Month, it is imperative that we recognize that peace is a state desired by all… and that our nation must collectively work for it if we want to realize our potential and lay the foundation for the kind of economic development required to lift our people out of poverty.”

Nograles, the co-lead of the Inter-Cabinet Cluster Mechanism on Normalization (ICCMN), revealed that “everything is proceeding as planned for the implementation of the normalization program for the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).” 

“The ICCMN, we believe, will play a key role in the normalization process as it is expected to coordinate and mobilize relevant government agencies in implementing the various aspects of the normalization program; provide policy advice, further support and other necessary input or assistance to the appropriate modality and mechanism for the timely and smooth implementation of the different components of the program; supervise and monitor all socio-economic interventions under the program; and create a working group on vulnerable sectors to be composed of relevant government agencies.”

Nograles pointed out that government peace efforts were not limited to Mindanao, as government has also institutionalized the Whole-of-Nation Approach with the creation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). 

One mechanism introduced to aid these efforts is the designation of specific cabinet secretaries as Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS). Nograles had earlier been designated CORDS of the CARAGA region.

“These are just some of the initiatives that the government is pursuing to establish safe and peaceful communities around the country. The success of these efforts will be depend greatly on the continued support and cooperation of all stakeholders––all of whom are the government’s partners for peace.” 


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