‘PPP 4 peace’

COMMONSENSE - Marichu A. Villanueva - The Philippine Star

Last Tuesday, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (PBBM) signed into law the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Code of the Philippines. Malacañang announced the newly signed PPP Code under Republic Act (RA) No. 11966 will establish a stable and predictable environment for collaboration between the public and private sectors in filling the infrastructure gaps in our country. 

 Another familiar buzz term is the “4Ps,” or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program under RA 11310. The 4Ps is the national poverty reduction program that provides conditional cash transfer to poor households all around the country. 

Taking off from these popular national government programs, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) headed by Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. kicked off the campaign to promote his own PPP, with a twist. Speaking in a special edition of our Kapihan sa Manila Bay last Wednesday night, Galvez announced the OPAPRU has started its own multiple “Ps” program. Galvez coined it as Public-Private Partnership for Peace, or “PPP 4 peace” for short.

Patterned after the PPP concept, Galvez explained, PBBM issued Executive Order (EO) 6 amending EO 79 that created the Cabinet Cluster on Normalization Process during the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte. Galvez started this when he was first appointed as OPAPRU chief after his retirement as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). This Cabinet Cluster is co-chaired by Galvez and Special Assistant to the President Anton Lagdameo. 

Rekindling this project under the Marcos administration, the OPAPRU’s own 4Ps have been divided into four core groups that will have 12 members each as “mentors,” according to Galvez. These groups consist of officials from concerned government agencies and the representatives from the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) formed last year by PBBM. The PSAC is headed by lead convenor Sabin Aboitiz, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc.

The first group will engage in carbon credits and reforestation headed by the Ayala Corp. and with government counterparts from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Transportation.

The second group takes charge of jobs generation headed by Frederick Go, president and CEO of Robinsons Land Corp. and with government counterparts from the Department of Trade and Industry.

The third group is capacitation training also with the Ayala Foundation and government representatives from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. 

The fourth group is governance led by Zuellig Foundation represented by former Agrarian Reform Secretary Ernesto Garilao and government counterparts from the Department of the Interior and Local Governments and concerned Governors and Mayors. 

Galvez disclosed he is also currently wooing “peace champions” among the lawmakers of the 19th Congress. Galvez vows to seek the help of the present Congress to support the Filipino nation’s cherished dream of enduring peace with all rebel groups in the Philippines.

Galvez thanked profusely the recent plenary approval at the House of Representatives of PBBM’s Amnesty Proclamations endorsed in four Joint Congressional Resolutions. These four Resolutions seek to approve the pending grant of amnesty to more than 7,000 former armed rebels who have already availed of the “Balik-loob” program of the government and rejoined as peaceful, law-abiding and productive members of the society. 

This is PBBM’s continuing with the implementation of the various peace agreements forged in the past by his immediate predecessors at Malacañang, Galvez pointed out. These included the 1976 Tripoli Agreement of the Philippine government with then Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari during the term of PBBM’s namesake father, the late President Ferdinand Sr. 

Then came the peace agreement of the late President Corazon “Cory” Aquino with the Cordillera Bodong Administation-Cordillera People’s Liberation (CPLA) headed by the late ex-priest Conrado Balweg. This gave birth to the law that created the autonomous Cordillera Administrative Region.

When the late AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel Ramos got elected as President of the country, Galvez cited himself among the beneficiaries of the formal peace agreement with the Reform the AFP Movement-Soldiers of the Filipino People-Young Officers Union (RAM-SFP-YOU). Then a young Army Lieutenant, Galvez joined the YOU military rebels who led the siege in Makati City in December 1989 – a coup d’etat against Mrs. Aquino. Subsequently, Galvez was among those granted amnesty along with other officers and men who joined the past military putsches. 

During the shortened term of former President Joseph Estrada, his administration entered into a formal peace agreement with the Rebolusyonaryong Manggagawa ng Pilipinas-Revolutionary Proteletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RMP-RPA-ABB) in 1999.

Then the late President Benigno Simeon “PNoy” Aquino III signed a formal peace pact with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that led to the creation of the present Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 

It is only the talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) that remained unsettled. Even as a socialism believer, ex-President Duterte got into loggerheads with the late CPP chairman Jose Ma. “Joma” Sison. Mr. Duterte abandoned the peace talks table hosted by a third party broker, the government of The Netherlands where Sison had lived in self-exile until his demise.

But like watching children’s party trick of pulling a rabbit out of a hat, PBBM announced a few days back the resumption in Oslo, Norway of the exploratory peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF under the aegis of the Norwegian government as third party broker. 

Meantime, Galvez counts on the “PPP 4 peace” to jumpstart the post-Joma peace process with the CPP-NPA-NDF.  

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