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Monday, October 6, 2014

Eisenhower Fellows to lead peace and development efforts in Basilan

MAKATI CITY--The Eisenhower Fellows Association of the Philippines (EFAP) will launch the Basilan Development Program  at the Ayala Museum at around 11:30am here today (Tue, October 7). 

Lt. Col Harold Cabunoc, a member of the said association, said that the event will be attended by prominent leaders from different organizations including business leader Jaime Zobel de Ayala, former Rep. Risa Hontiveros, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor Mujiv Hataman and Brigadier General Carlito Galvez of the Philippine Army.

“Since 2011, EFAP has decided to focus the talents of its members to contribute to the development of Muslim Mindanao,” said Cabunoc

“As the country prepares for the transition of Muslim Mindanao to the Bangsamoro autonomous government, EFAP believes that Basilan would be a strategic area for development intervention,” he added. 

Among the attendees during the event are multilateral and bilateral institutions such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United States Agency for International Development, and Japan International Cooperation Agency, among others, to join in efforts to redevelop the province of Basilan.

Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, the honorary chairman of EFAP, ARMM Governor Hataman, Eisenhower Fellowships Trustee Derek Chilvers, and Balay Mindanaw senior director Ariel Hernandez will share their ideas on peace building and the proposed Bangsamoro region, and present the strategies and components of the Basilan Development Program.

The other Filipino Eisenhower fellows who stand at the frontlines of the Basilan Development Program include Ariel Hernandez, former Agrarian Reform secretary Ernie Garilao, former Saranggani governor Miguel Dominguez, Tayabas City Mayor Dondi Silang, Brigadier General Charlie Galvez, and PinoyME Foundation president and CEO Dan Songco.

They will utilize their knowledge and resources to establish resilient and peaceful communities in the province of Basilan as a model of the ideals of the Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro.

The province had received in the early 90s an undue notoriety as a lair of the extremist Abu Sayyaf group which also caused the suffering, displacement and economic backwardness of the province. 

Formerly known as the chartered city of Basilan,  it used to be the 4th largest city in the country during the 50s and the 60s, and was then classified as a first class city. 

The EFAP believes that Basilan has the potential to swing back to its former glory if only enough effort were given to it by government and private sector organizations. It has the potential to be a rising star in the Bangsamoro region.

Both Cabunoc and Galvez had served in the frontlines of Basilan during the Dos Palmas kidnapping incident in 2001. Galvez returned in 2012 to serve as Brigade Commander of the Army's 103rd Brigade.

Development program

The strategic development program will capacitate selected municipalities with aims of improving their governance standards, improving health and education indicators, peace and security, enterprise development and skills-based employment, and youth leadership development.   

Garilao will bring to Basilan the expertise of Zuellig Foundation, of which he is president, to enhance LGU governance and the delivery of health services. Dominguez will tap the Synergia Foundation, of which he is trustee, to assist in education governance. Mayor Silang will also work with Dominguez to mentor local chief executives so that they may accomplish the good governance standards of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Brigadier General Galvez, deputy commander of the Western Mindanao Command, will work with Hernandez to strengthen and institutionalize the provincial and municipal peace and order councils in Basilan.

Songco, who leads the PinoyME Foundation, a foundation started by former president Cory Aquino which advances microfinance and microentrepreneurship as the key to helping Filipinos move out of poverty, will likewise work with Hernandez in promoting grassroots economic development with two parallel strategies. First is value-chain based enterprise development by organizing and training farmers in business development, business planning and operation for community-driven enterprises, and sustaining the scaling up of enterprises by selling their products directly to the market. The second strategy entails women-led technopreneurship, which provides technical skills training to hardworking Basilanin women.

The Ayala Young Leaders Congress will also select and work with young and promising Basileños who can become the future leaders who will help guide the people of Basilan from conflict and poverty to a time a of peace and sustainable development.

The Eisenhower Fellowships was established by friends of former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 to work towards his aspiration for a “more prosperous, just, and peaceful world. It identifies innovative leaders from all professions and inspires them to leverage their own talents to better the world around them.

The EFAP is composed of business, government, and reform movement leaders. It is working to achieve a comprehensive peace and development program that will introduce substantial changes in the lives of Filipinos who have endured conflicts in Basilan.

Note: EFAP's Basilan Development Program launching is open to the media. 
For more information, please contact: Dan Songco (09188017742), Ariel Hernandez (09188987777), Lt Col Harold M Cabunoc (09178421994) or Governor Mujiv Hataman (09188871988). 

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