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(NAR) VOL. 10 NO. 3 / JULY - SEPTEMBER 1999

[ EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 115, June 21, 1999 ]


WHEREAS, the State recognizes that the attainment of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace under the rule of law and in accordance with Constitutional processes, is the basic foundation of economic development and national prosperity;

WHEREAS, it is the policy of the State to pursue a comprehensive peace process to attain a just, comprehensive and lasting peace under the implementing principles and approaches towards the paths to peace as embodied under Executive Order No. 125 dated 15 September 1993;

WHEREAS, in the furtherance of the above peace process and consistent with the principles and approaches thereof, the government deems it necessary and vital to localize and pursue its peace efforts with the communist insurgents on the ground to address the causes of armed conflict and at the same time prevent situations of "unpeace", and to provide the communist rebels with the opportunity to participate in the democratic process of peace and development in the community:

WHEREAS, there is a need to provide an efficient mechanism and structure for the localization of the government's peace efforts towards realizing its objectives and thereby, facilitate the attainment of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by the powers vested in me by law, do hereby order the adoption of the following mechanics and operational structure for the localization of the government's peace efforts:

SECTION 1. Framework for Localizing Peace Efforts. — The peace efforts of the government shall hereby be focused on addressing directly the specific issues and/or concerns on the ground, which are considered the causes of insurgency and/or creating situations of "unpeace" in a particular area. These shall be jointly pursued by the government and the community with, to the extent possible, concerned local communist insurgency group, hereinafter referred to as the insurgency group.

SECTION 2. Local Peace Forum. — The local peace efforts shall be pursued through a local-based Peace Forum, which shall be constituted by the President from time to time in areas where it is deemed appropriate to undertake the above peace initiative.

The Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, in coordination with the concerned agencies and the local peace constituency, shall identify and recommend to the President, through the National Peace Forum herein referred to, the areas where Local Peace Forum may be organized as well as their respective composition of five (5) to seven (7) members representing preferably civil society and local government.

Once constituted, the members of the Local Peace Forum shall elect from among themselves their Chair and Co-Chairperson, provided one of whom is from civil society.

The Local Peace Forum, which shall be clothed with the necessary powers from the President, shall undertake the following activities:

a. Reach-out to the local community and insurgency group to encourage their participation in the Local Peace Forum. The latter's participation thereto, however, shall not be considered a requisite for pursuing the activities lodged with the Local Peace Forum under this Order;

b. Serve as a problem-solving mechanism in the community. As such, it shall identify issues attendant to the local insurgency, including concerns, which are creating situations of "unpeace" in its areas of responsibility, and thereafter, coordinate and/or cause the efficient resolution of the same.

c. Serve as peace advocate by identifying and undertaking measures to promote an environment and culture of peace in the community.

d. Refer issues and concerns requiring Presidential intervention and/or actions from the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches of the government to the National Peace Forum. It shall also provide regular feedback on their status to the concerned community;

e. Provide the President, through the National Peace Forum, regular status report on its activities as well as the peace situations in its area of responsibility; and

f. Undertake other tasks, which may be deemed necessary by the President and the National Peace Forum.

In carrying out its tasks, the Local Peace Forum shall build on the accomplishments already achieved by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, which has established a nationwide network of peace partners and local peace-building programs, as well as by the National Unification Commission created under Executive Order No. 19 dated 1 September 1992, including the linkages and public consultation processes the Commission has established. The Local Peace Fora, which may be organized under this Order, shall necessarily enhance various existing local peace efforts.

SECTION 3. National Peace Forum. — There is hereby created the National Peace Forum, to be chaired by the Executive Secretary, to address issues affecting the peace efforts, which the Local Peace Fora are unable to address.

The Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, through the Executive Secretary, shall recommend to the President for approval the membership of the National Peace Forum, preferably three (3) Cabinet Members; two (2) Members from Congress; and four (4) from civil society. Upon its formation, the members of the National Peace Forum, shall elect from among themselves their Co-Chairperson, preferably a representative from civil society.

The National Peace Forum shall undertake the following activities:

a. Identify and resolve national issues impacting directly on the insurgency, including those concerns endorsed thereto by the Local Peace Fora;

b. Identify and recommend to the President the appropriate areas where the Local Peace Forum may be organized and its membership. The identification of areas for local peace efforts shall be undertaken by the National Peace Forum on a continuing basis, of which the initial areas and the recommended composition of their Local Peace Fora, shall be submitted to the President within two weeks from the formation of the national forum.

c. Formulate, based on its initiatives and peace efforts of the Local Peace Fora, a national peace agenda which shall pave the way for lasting peace settlements with the insurgency groups in the country. The national peace agenda shall necessarily revitalize and complement the six (6) paths to peace as embodied under EO 125, specifically the pursuit of societal reforms for peace;

d. Coordinate and monitor the peace initiatives of the Local Peace Fora towards the efficient attainment of the objectives set under this Order;

e. Submit regular reports to the President on the status of the national efforts to attain peace settlements with the local insurgency groups, including recommendations to enhance the implementation of the national peace agenda;

f. Formulate the necessary implementing rules and regulations for the efficient operationalization of this Order; and

g. Undertake other tasks, which the President may deem necessary.

The Cabinet Advisory Committee for Peace Talks, whenever necessary, shall make available itself to the National Peace Forum for consultation. The activities of the GRP Panel for Talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF created under EO 125 are hereby suspended until such time talks are revived, during which time the President may reconstitute the Panel.

SECTION 4. National Peace Forum Secretariat. — The Office of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, through the Secretariat of the GRP Panel for Talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF, shall serve as the Secretariat of the National Peace Forum. In addition to the Secretariat, it is authorized to create Technical Committees and Task Forces it may deem necessary to enhance the discharge of its tasks.

SECTION 5. Role of the Local Chief Executives and Other Local Government Agencies. — The local chief executives as well as local government agencies shall provide necessary coordination and support to the Local Peace Fora to enhance the success of the peace efforts in the area or community. Whenever necessary, the Local Peace Fora may also tap and mobilize technical assistance and resources of local government agencies including the local government units. In this regard, the national agencies shall ensure the consistent and timely cooperation of their regional offices and extensions to the Local Peace Fora.

SECTION 6. Funding. — The National Peace Forum shall be funded with an initial allocation of Twenty Million Pesos (P20,000,000) from the President's Contingent Fund and existing and unexpended budget of the GRP Panel for Talks with CPP/NPA/NDF to cover the cost of its activities and that of the Local Peace Fora during the initial year of operation.

The National Peace Forum shall also identify and submit its budgetary requirements for the succeeding years for inclusion in the budget submission of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process for Congressional appropriation.

SECTION 7. Repealing Clause. — All other Executive Orders and Issuances inconsistent with this Order or with any parts thereof are hereby rescinded or modified accordingly.

SECTION 8. Effectivity. — This Order shall take effect immediately.

Adopted: 21 June 1999


Executive Secretary
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