Bacolod City, Jan. 19 – The joint writeshop on the drafting of the Closure Agreement between the government and the Tabara-Paduano Group (TPG) of the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas-Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB) started last Tuesday and ends today after three days of talks between the government and the former rebel group.
Attended by representatives from the local government units of Negros and officials from the security sector, the writeshop ended with a clearer view of the form and contents of the draft Closure Agreement as both parties have leveled off on definitions and expectations.
The parties have agreed on the objectives, principles and components for inclusion in the draft. Emerging components all geared towards the institutional transformation of the RPMP-RPA-ABB from an armed group into a legal political organization and at the individual and community level, the economic integration and social support for former combatants as they return to communities.
Aspects of the implementation mechanisms and corresponding timelines were also laid out.
“These three days have been very productive. I thank our local government partners for actively participating in the whole process. It affirms that a convergence design can work, and that when stakeholders are engaged early on, the prospects of closure with RPMP-RPA-ABB are even more viable and sustainable,” said Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo, head of the government panel.
Joining Montalbo as government panel members are Colonel Dickson Hermoso of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Peace Process Office, Assistant Secretary Anselmo Abungan of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Atty. Joemer Aquino of the OPAPP Legal Security Unit.
The government and the RPMP-RPA-ABB forged a peace agreement in 2000 during the term of President Joseph Estrada. In 2007, RPMP-RPA-ABB split into two factions, TPG and the Nilo Dela Cruz Group (NDCG). A separate negotiating table with the NDCG is also underway, with the help of NAPC Secretary Eliseo Rocamora.