By Chito Chavez
The government’s campaign on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) was further bolstered after an international funding agency pledged to grant around $3 million in assistance to civil society organizations (CSOs) for their community-level initiatives to address violent extremism.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año said the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), a non-profit Swiss foundation, has recently partnered with the Philippine government, and is now calling on CSOs to express their interest to become a principal recipient of GCERF.
“One of the priorities of DILG is the protection of peace and safety of Filipino communities through the prevention of violent extremism. Now having GCERF as a partner towards the achievement of this goal further empowers our locales in addressing this issue,” Año said
He noted the concentration of the GCERF funding will be in Mindanao areas vulnerable to violent extremism and places identified as susceptible to violent extremism in other parts of the country such as mainland Luzon and Metro Manila.
The DILG chief also noted “CSOs who hope to secure said funding should target youth and children (in-school and out-of-school); youth support networks (communities; women; families, including mothers; academic and learning institutions; religious leaders and scholars, including those who studied abroad; and traditional leaders); and social media users vulnerable to radicalisation to violent extremism’’.
DILG Assistant Secretary Alexander Macario said CSO-grantees are also expected to propose activities that will build tolerance, where violent extremists recruit the marginalized; community agency, where violent extremists exploit governance challenges; positive social and economic alternatives to what violent extremist groups claim to offer; and critical thinking and life skills as protection against violent extremism recruitment.
“We are very excited about the prospects of this partnership with GCERF as this will also complement the efforts of the Philippine government to end the 50-year local Communist armed conflict in the country,” Macario said.
Macario is the senior government representative of the Philippines to the GCERF Board, the governing body of GCERF.
To recall, President Duterte has created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict comprised of different government agencies which adopts a whole-of-nation approach in concluding the communist terrorist problem in the country.
Since early 2016, GCERF through its Core Funding Mechanism (CFM) has committed up to $13.416 million in grants to Bangladesh, Mali, and Nigeria. It has also partnered with countries such as Kenya, Kosovo, and Myanmar.
As of August of 2018, the Philippines formally became a new partner country of GCERF towards the cause of pursuing the commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) on “Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.”
“I urge all local organizations and CSOs who are interested in implementing or strengthening PCVE strategies in their communities to forward their proposals even before the May 26 deadline. Eto ay mahalagang tulong patungo sa kapayapaan laban sa terorismo (This is a big help towards gaining peace in the fight against terrorism),” said Macario.
The deadline for application for GCERF funding is on May 26, 2019. All Expressions of Interest using the required form must be submitted electronically to [email protected] with the subject line ‘EOI-PHILIPPINES’.
Further information can be found by accessing the grants page of the GCERF website.