Iloilo City, March 2– Local chief executives and government agency officials from Iloilo and Cebu pledged support to the proposed closure agreement between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Tabara-Paduano Group (TPG) of the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas – Revolutionary Proletarian Army – Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB).
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) recently consulted local leaders on the proposed closure pact in an effort to make the process a genuine convergence of national and local governments, as well as of governments and constituents.
According to OPAPP Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo, “inclusivity and participation from actors and agencies will ensure the sustainability of RPMP-RPA-ABB’s transition into civilian life.”
In 2000, the government and the armed group inked a peace agreement which was never fully implemented. The closure agreement aims to complete government's commitment and lead to the transformation of the RPMP-RPA-ABB into a potent, socio-economic, unarmed force that will help in the advancement of their communities.
Line agencies vow support
In Iloilo and Cebu, regional line agency officers of Western Visayas (Region 6) and Central Visayas (Region 7) attended workshops to help flesh out the proposed closure agreement.
Director Alexander Umpar of OPAPP’s Peace Accord Monitoring Secretariat facilitated the workshops which he said will “help put substance to the emerging components of the closure pact.”
The workshops likewise aided in the identification of livelihood and employment opportunities and other mechanisms for economic reintegration.
Attending the workshops and pledging support are officials from the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Cooperative Development Authority, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and Department of Agriculture, among others.
Iloilo gov, mayor on board
Also engaged in the closure are Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr. and Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog. In separate engagements, the two officials were met by OPAPP to identify areas by which the provincial and city governments can support members of the RPMP-RPA-ABB in Iloilo and neighboring provinces.
Defensor and Mabilog are joined by Iloilo Provincial Administrator Raul Banias, who likewise expressed support to the closure pact.
Banias is a former presidential aide to the peace process for Western Visayas, while Mabilog is chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council. #