Operationalizing Local Peace and Order Councils
In Misamis Oriental, in the northern part of Mindanao, members of the Local Peace and Order Councils (POCs) are geared towards taking a more hands on role in building peace in their localities, now with even greater participation of civil society groups.
“Gone are the days when Peace and Order Councils are being associated with police and military work only. That’s how it was in the province of Misamis Oriental before. We were a ‘reactive’ peace and order council. Peace and Order Councils must be pro-active now.
We just don’t talk about insurgency here, we are talking about how to provide the basic services to the barangays, on bringing the government closer to the people, and we are doing it now,” stressed Teddy Sabuga-a, Executive Director of the Peace and Order Council of Misamis Oriental, during a Peacebuilding Orientation seminar for Municipal POCs in the province.
The Provincial Peace and Order Council(PPOC) of Misamis Oriental was reorganized last January 28, 2009 by Gov. Oscar S. Moreno through Executive Order No. 02, S. 2009. It has evolved to embrace a paradigm shift in peace building and has become proactive in pursuing development initiatives. Balay Mindanaw’s Ayi Hernandez sits in as Vice Chairman since 2004.
PPOC has taken a major step forward last September 21, 2010, during the handover of the Internal Security Operations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (4th Infantry Division, Philippine Army) to the province of Misamis Oriental. This highlighted the significant role of local government units in peace and development agenda. PPOC committed to provide support and ensure that all Municipal Peace and Order Councils (MPOC) formulate their local peace and development initiatives.
During the MPOC Peacebuilding orientation in Balingasag, one Parish Pastoral member articulated that issues on peace, order and security should be institutionalized in every Local Government Unit. “In fact, peace and development is a basic human right, and it is a state obligation to provide us these needs,” added Victor Aleria Jr. of the Commission on Human Rights, also a PPOC member.
For 2011 onwards, the Local Peace and Order Councils in Misamis Oriental are headed to a “paradigm shift.” This includes reorganization, strengthening and capacity building of the members.
To date, Magsaysay, Gingoog, Medina, Sugbongcogon, Salay, Lagonglong, Balingasag and Claveria have started their Peacebuilding Orientation and reorganization of the council. The western part of the province will start their Local Peace and Order Peacebuilding Orientation this April. This undertaking compliments Executive Order 773, to further reorganize peace and order councils.