For two days, (November 28-29, 2018), over 50 stakeholders representing various sectors from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) gathered in a consultation -workshop held in a hotel in this city to get their inputs for the National Action Plan on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE).
Representatives were grouped into thematic sectors on governance, infrastructure, economic, and social cluster that includes the security sector from Western Mindanao Command to discuss what they have done in PCVE and what more should be done to improve the action plan.
Deputy Director General Vicente Agdama of the National Security Council formally opened the workshop and explained that “as a concrete response to security threat, the National Security Council (NSC), in close partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), has come up with a National Action Plan on preventing and countering violent extremism in the Philippines (NAP PCVE-Philippines) that promotes the convergence of all government agencies, civil-society organizations, religious leaders and other relevant stakeholders to address the push and pull factors of violent extremism.”
Specifically, the objective is to institutionalize the PCVE strategies from the national level down to the municipal level and to involve the different concerned stakeholders from the broadest spectrum of the society in implementing PCVE programs.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Senior Adviser on PCVE, Major General Melquiades Felicaino (Ret.), said that “Currently the NAP-PCVE Philippines is drafting an Executive Order as well as creating a structure with leadership and permanent members through engagement with different agencies for the development of their respective intervention programs.”
ARMM Cabinet Secretary John Louie Balagot presented the ARMM Regional Government’s interventions to PCVE.
He highlighted their initial successes and challenges with their approach on Abu Sayaff Group (ASG) returnees along with their families.
Balagot informed the participants that the a number of ASG returnees received assistance for chili farming and training from Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) which last month they were able to harvest fish worth P130,000.00.
There are now 111 ASG returnees attending Accelerated Learning System (ALS) classes in three different locations and 40 others are attending vocational courses with TESDA Also, Balagot mentioned other interventions they have done such as provision of medical, educational and livelihood assistance through the EMBRACE ARMM, engagement with the Ulama by organizing the Regional Darul Ifta of ARMM, engagement with the youth (Bangsamoro Young Leaders Program) and engagement with ASG who served time in prison The consultation-workshop aims to promote the PCVE and to gain concrete actions in order to finally achieve the elusive peace in the Bangsamoro area.