Peace Ccaravan kicks Off In Southern Philippines

January 17, 2008 at 3:41 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment
SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Jan. 17, 2008) – Thousands of Muslims are expected to join two days of peace caravan in the southern Filipino province of Sulu, Gov. Sakur Tan said on Thursday.
He said the caravan is a collaborative effort of national government agencies and various non-government agencies to address the immediate health, education and livelihood needs of communities affected by conflict.
Tan said the caravan would kick off on Friday in the town of Jolo and would go around Patikul and Kalingalang Caluang towns, scene of previous clashes between rebels and soldiers.
“It is different now. The areas are now a venue of peace and thousands of people are joining our efforts to spread peace in the whole of Sulu,” Tan told reporters.
Dubbed as Health, Education, and Livelihood for Progress (H.E.L.P) Humanitarian Caravan, it is a mechanism designed to address the needs of communities in crisis due to the prevailing conflict in the area, according to Jesus Dureza, the Presidential peace adviser. “This effort of the government will focus on health, education and livelihood to continuously provide development in the areas greatly affected by conflict.”
“This convergence effort shows government’s sincere desire of achieving sustainable peace and development in the region particularly in the areas affected by conflict,” Dureza said.
In the effort to effectively implement the program for the region, agencies were grouped into four clusters to identify project and services that will be delivered for health, nutrition and sanitation; education; livelihood and employment; and other programs and services, according to Tan.
Tan said the H.E.L.P initiative is also aimed at consulting with the communities on their medium and long term concerns particularly on livelihood and employment aspect as well as provide a humanitarian face to the ongoing conflict in Sulu.
A similar caravan would also be held in Basilan next week. (With reports from Nickee Butlangan, Arthur Abasolo and Jun Delgado)

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