Sec. Dureza, local dignitaries grace 11 islands Kamahardikaan
October 15, 2009
WMSU President Dr. Grace J. Rebollos lauds the Kamahardikaan celebration with Secretary Jesus Dureza, National Program Director of ACT for Peace (seated to the right of Dr. Rebollos)

WMSU President Dr. Grace J. Rebollos lauds the Kamahardikaan celebration with Secretary Jesus Dureza, National Program Director of ACT for Peace (seated to the right of Dr. Rebollos)

Secretary Jesus Dureza, National Program Director of ACT for Peace; some other officials of the ACT for Peace Programme in Western-Southern Mindanao (A4Peace-WSM); Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) officials led by President Dr. Grace J. Rebollos and Mindanao Communication Network (MindaComnet) representatives led by its president Mr. Raymond Domingo graced the Kamahardikaan Freedom Day of Eleven Islands held last October 9 in Siromon Island, this city.

Kamahardikaan Day is a commemoration of the declaration of Eleven Islands as Peace and Development Community (PDC). It marked the celebration of the independence of the eleven islands from the clutches of war, poverty, depression and hopelessness to becoming a haven of peace, hope and development.

The residents, headed by Commander Akbari Samson, PDC Chairman, organized a series of activities to celebrate this significant event with participants coming from neighboring islands and barangays.

Highlight of the event was the turn over of completed projects of PDC Eleven Islands to the fisherfolk association and the Zamboanga City MNLF State Revolutionary Committee (SRC).

The turned over projects are the Fish Cage in Siromon and Lampinigan islands, and the Ring Net Fishing Livelihood project for Zamboanga City MNLF SRC.

Simultaneous dialogues with different sectors were also conducted by concerned agencies. The sectors included fisherfolks, women, children and the youth.

Regata de Isla, love drive and medical outreach were also held, capping the whole affair.

A briefer of the A4Peace Programme stated that in November 2005, the BLGU of Dita requested assistance from the government for the displaced families through the A4Peace Programme.

The Eleven Islands the briefer stated, was then included as one of the expansion areas for Zamboanga City. Thus, on July 13, 2006, stakeholders signed a peace covenant expressing their commitment to support the rehabilitation and development of the PDC of Eleven Islands.

Since 2006, the GoP-UN ACT for Peace Programme in partnership with the local government and other government agencies provided socio-economic projects designed to address the well-being of the community along with the peace-building and conflict transformation framework.

Among the socio-economic projects introduced include core shelters, construction of health station, small fishing project, smoke fish project and marine growout / floating fish cage. (Dion Jay E. Tality, WMSU/PAO)