MANILA — The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) today said that the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds received by the agency supported peace and development initiatives in the Cordillera region—not rights abuses, contrary to media spins and allegations of certain groups.
“While it is true that OPAPP received DAP funds for peace and development initiatives in conflict-vulnerable and -affected areas, it is malicious to say that it was used to fund lawlessness in the Cordilleras in the form of human rights abuses,” OPAPP Undersecretary Maria Cleofe Gettie Sandoval clarified.
OPAPP reports that nearly PhP208 million were disbursed, out of the total PhP1.819 billion DAP funds allotted to the agency, to support the implementation of the provisions of the Memorandum of Agreement signed between the government and the Cordillera Bodong Administration (CBA)-Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) in 2011, namely: the groups’ transformation into a unarmed, socio-economic organization; final disposition of arms and forces; economic reintegration of profiled CPLA members; community development; and inter-municipal and inter-barangay development projects.
Cordillera for peace and development
Since the CPLA entered into a peace pact with the government, it has then transformed itself into a legal, socio-economic entity—the Cordillera Forum for Peace and Development—contributing to peace and local development.
As part of the socio-economic reintegration component of the Closure Agreement, the fund covered for livelihood projects, employment as forest guards or as integree into AFP, farm-to-market roads, water systems, communal irrigation systems, and community infrastructures among others through the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) program.
As to whether CBA-CPLA directly received funds for the said projects, Sandoval clarified that “no part of the fund, in any amount, was directly given to any group.”
“OPAPP is not an implementing agency. The funds were transferred to line agencies and local government units, who signed memoranda of agreements with OPAPP, to implement the projects.”
Good and steady partners
Members of the CBA-CPLA share that the projects have contributed to fulfilling their ancestors’ dreams for better roads, improved irrigation, shorter routes to farmlands, steadier footbridges over rivers, and access to basic services, such as health and education among others.
The group has also actively participated in the process and contributed well in bringing the peace agreement and its commitments to a proper close.
“In the past three years of implementation, members of the CBA and the former CPLA have been good and steady partners in peacebuilding in the region,” Sandoval assured.
The undersecretary likewise clarified that there is no Danilo Lalin in OPAPP's database of AFP integrees under the 2011 GPH-CBA-CPLA MOA, contrary to the claim of Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay.