The City Government of Davao honored 51 Peace 911 partner agencies from national and local government offices, as well as from the private sector, in celebration of the 5th anniversary of the peacebuilding program during a recognition ceremony at the Royal Mandaya Hotel here on Monday.

The Peace 911 initiative was established on May 10, 2018 to counter insurgent forces, particularly in Paquibato District, by strengthening community relations and delivering government services in the area. It has since expanded to cover Marilog District and four other barangays in Calinan.

Monday’s ceremony was aimed at formally recognizing Peace 911 public and private partners for their contributions which ultimately paved the way for the declaration of Davao City as insurgency-free.

Certificates of recognition and tokens were given to the Peace 911 Committee, officials from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, the legal sector, the health sector, officials of the Indigenous People’s Structure/Ancestral Domain Management Office, partners in the local government unit, city councilors, foreign delegates from the embassy of New Zealand and the Chinese Consulate, partners from the National Government, and partners from the private sector.

Peace 911 employees and peacebuilders were also recognized for their efforts.

Task Force Davao Commander Lt. Darren Comia said the Peace 911 initiative has effectively eliminated insurgency threats while fostering deeper trust between the government and the national security forces with the communities in the city’s upland areas.

Meanwhile, Peace 911 Focal Person Atty. Jonah Presto said the Peace 911 initiative will be expanded to cover all barangays to further safeguard the peace and security situation in the city.

“Soon enough, since the ordinance has been passed, we will operate city-wide. So it’s not just Paquibato area, we will operate throughout the city, especially in areas that are prone to conflict. Marilog, Calinan, Toril— these are the priority areas of Peace 911,” Presto said.

She added that to prevent insurgency groups from exploiting social issues to advance their interests, the Peace 911 will act as a coordinating agency to address problems and unrest in far-flung communities that had been deprived of government services and interventions.

“We will begin in Calinan and Marilog. Naa na tay (We already have a) schedule for coordination with the barangay. Also, the programs na gibuhat na pud nato sa (we have already done in) Paquibato will start this year. So hopefully for the remaining months of the year, ma-accomplish nato atong (we will accomplish our) goal to reach these barangays,” she said.

To ensure the efficient deployment of interventions, the Peace 911 will be expanding its pool of employees and peacebuilders. Each barangay in the city will have at least two Peace 911 barangay coordinators that will monitor the security situation and social welfare in their area.

Vice Mayor J Melchor Quitain Jr. congratulated the Peace 911 Committee for their accomplishments over the past five years. He reminded the group that it remains the responsibility of people in government to withhold the constitutional provisions emphasizing civilian interest over that of the military.

Reading Mayor Sebastian Duterte’s message, Quitain thanked the Peace 911 stakeholders for their cooperation and hard work for the peacebuilding cause in conflict-affected areas.

“It is our collaborative efforts, anchored on the eight pillars of peace, that have guided us to the success of our endeavors and contributed to the declaration of Davao City as insurgency-free city in 2022,” Quitain said.

“Rest assured that the City Government of Davao remains committed to furthering the initiatives that shall safeguard the best interests of all peace-loving Dabawenyos,” he added. CIO