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Editorial | Living in peace

It has been more than two years since the Peace 911 program was launched by Mayor Sara Duterte “to change the pattern of development by using a human-centered approach taking in account cultural diversity, social justice and participatory decision making.” The communities where the project was implemented must be enjoying the fruits of this initiative.

Peace 911 reached out to 13 barangays in Paquibato district and one barangay in Calinan district, identified as underserved in the highlands of the city.

This came after efforts to localize the peace talks initiated by Mayor Sara failed to materialize. On Sept. 12, 2017, she signed Executive Order No. 34 creating the Davao City Local Peace Committee or the DC-Peace to pursue peace negotiations with the local counterpart of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. The rebels however rejected the idea of a localized peace talks claiming that it will only serve to divide the revolutionary forces.

The program, as envisioned, provides communities access to basic services and give them skills and knowledge to craft their own dreams to improve their lives. It targets poverty alleviation, education and health services as priority challenges that could lead to better community engagement with the city.

For instance, according to Lorna Mandin, head of the Integrated Gender and Development Office, one of the first activities they had in 2017 was educating IP women on how to plant vegetables using the technology of urban container gardening. She said not only does it have a gender impact as women no longer have to go far to care for their farm, it also gave them time to care for themselves and their children.

One cannot just count the military gains in assessing Peace 911. The essence of the program is building communities free from poverty and autonomous enough to imagine their own sustainable development goals.

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