From the Manila Bulletin (Oct 13): Business leaders want Basilan to be model for peace and progress
The country’s top civic and business leaders, who comprise the Eisenhower Fellows Association of the Philippines (EFAP), recently launched a comprehensive socio-economic program to ensure peace and progress in Basilan and establish the island-province as a development model for the proposed Bangsamoro region.
“As the country prepares for the transition of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to the Bangsamoro autonomous government, EFAP believes that Basilan would be a strategic area for development intervention,” said Jaime Zobel de Ayala, honorary chairperson of EFAP during the launch of the Basilan Development Program at the Ayala Museum in Makati City.
The goal of the Basilan Development Program (BDP) is to build, rehabilitate, and capacitate within the province resilient and peaceful communities to translate the ideals proposed by the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the peace accord signed between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Program Director Ariel Hernandez explained that through the Basilan Development Program, EFAP is responding to the two-fold challenges posed by the anticipated Bangsamoro transition.
“The first challenge is to make the peace agreement felt by common Basileños,” said Hernandez. “Next, we must also figure out how to mobilize stakeholders to synergize their efforts to build development models that can be replicated in other areas.”
EFAP trustee Derek Chilvers lauded the efforts of the Filipino Eisenhower Fellows who are spearheading the initiative.
“Eisenhower Fellows are active in 53 countries across the world, engaged in various projects, both large and small in scale,” Chilvers shared. “I can truthfully and sincerely tell you, however, that there is no project more aligned with our vision for a better—more prosperous, more just, and more peaceful world than the Basilan Development Program.”
“Through this shared effort, we are aiming to make Basilan—a province so rich with potential, yet so stunted and deprived by its history of violence—a development model for best practices for the entire Bangsamoro region, as well as an inspiration for Eisenhower Fellowships worldwide.”
According to Chilvers, this is also the first time that “so many senior Eisenhower Fellows—many of whom are already very advanced in their respective careers—have pooled together their collective talents to create a major impact in their society.”
The launch of the BDP is in support of newest EFAP fellow who hails from Basilan, ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman.