YOUNG indigenous peoples (IP) leaders from across Mindanao threw their support behind the implementation of the Duterte Administration’s “Whole-Of-Nation” Approach under Executive Order No. 70 creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC).
The more than 200 participants to the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples’ Youth Assembly committed to helping the national government implement the initiative which primarily aims to address the decades-long communist rebellion in the country.
“We, the representatives of this assembly, declare our full and unequivocal support to the national government’s Whole-Of-Nation Approach, which is a centerpiece of the Duterte Administration’s Peace and Development Agenda,” the delegates said in a resolution passed on June 15. “We believe that this approach is the best solution to the communist insurgency that has ravaged our communities, and provide us, the youth, the opportunity to work hand in hand with the government to achieve this goal.”
They pledged not to be used and abused by the communist insurgents, and will utilize our voices to speak out and convince members of our communities not to support the organization’s distorted ideology,” the resolution added.
President Rodrigo Duterte has formed NTF ELCAC to work out a mechanism to help end the decades-old communist insurgency, and institutionalize a “whole-of-nation approach” in attaining an “inclusive and sustainable peace."
The Whole-Of-Nation Approach mandates all concerned agencies of government to work in a holistic and integrated manner to deliver much-needed services to underdeveloped, conflict-affected communities.
Through its Sectoral Unification, Capacity Building and Empowerment Cluster with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) as a member, the NTF-ELCAC has started to engage various peace stakeholders to jumpstart the process.
The approach will utilize localized peace engagements wherein local government units and other community members situated in conflict-affected areas will take the lead in providing solutions to best resolve the nation’s insurgency problem.
In the same resolution, the youth leaders also urged President Duterte to declare the full implementation of RA 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Acts (IPRA) as part of the national government’s policy agenda in his upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“Through this declaration, we envision the IPRA’s full implementation to significantly impact on the lives of our indigenous peoples, specifically by allowing us to completely enjoy the four bundle of rights as stated in the IPRA,” the resolution said.
According to Dante Tumanding, political officer of the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Youth Organization (MIPYO), they can contribute a lot to the Whole-Of-Nation approach.
“We are the frontlines and are the first ones affected whenever there is armed conflict in our communities,” Tumanding said.
This is the reason, Tumanding said, why the conduct of the peace assembly, organized by OPAPP in collaboration with MIPYO, is both timely and relevant.
“We wanted to equip our youth IP leaders across Mindanao with the skills and knowledge they will need to support the implementation of EO 70,” he said. (OPAPRU PR)