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Peace Zone Program
For the past two decades, the municipality of Tulwian had been devastated by two major conflicts: the Muslim-Christian war in the '70s, and the entry of the New People's Army in the '80s. Continuous fighting, crimes, killings, and property destructions were regular sights in this municipality and nearby areas in the province. Massive evacuation which resulted in so much misery, long sufferings and separations had caused this place to be declared a "no man's land" for a long, long time. And this was the scenario which inspired the people to declare a Zone of Peace in their God-forsaken communities.
The Peace Zone Program is a local initiative conceived by ordinary people in the remote villages of Tulunan, Cotabato in 1990. Three other areas have also declared a similar peace zone area in their respective municipalities. These are Barangays Bituan, and Nabundasan and the sitios of New Alimodian in Brgy. Banayal and Miatub in Brgy. Tuburan.
The Catholic parish of Tulunan provided much of the early impetus. After local dialogues and negotiations, the idea of a zone of peace began to take hold. It simply provided that nobody was allowed to carry firearms within the zone, join the NPA or CAFGU, nor force anybody to fight or take sides with the combatants.
As the idea began to take root, a more formal set-up was made. The Inter-Peace Zone Development Council was formed with -3 representatives each from barangay officials, chapel leaders and NGOs/POs. The NUC and President Ramos liked the idea and designated the peace zones as Special Development Areas with funding to be provided by the national government. Sagada, Mountain Province; Bangilo, Abra and Cantomanyog, Candoni, Negros Occidental, together with Tulunan, were the designated areas. A P20 M livelihood development fund for the four peace zone areas was provided by the President to assist the people of these areas to recover from their experiences.
This program is recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Programs in the 1994 Galing Pook Awards.
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