Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said yesterday that the imminent final closure of the peace agreement between the government and the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas – Revolutionary Proletarian Army – Alex Boncayao Brigade (Tabara-Paduano Group) will show to the New People’s Army that there is another approach to societal change that is, by not using violence.
If you have an advocacy and you want something to change, there is no need to go through violence and armed struggle, Lactao added
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process reported yesterday that local government and agency officials in Iloilo and Cebu have pledged support to the proposed closure of the RPA-ABB and government peace agreement.
OPAPP Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo said that the inclusivity and participation from actors and agencies will ensure the sustainability of RPMP-RPA-ABB’s transition into civilian life.
Montalvo said 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.
Human rights group Karapatan had earlier called on the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Negros Occidental not to sign the closure of the peace agreement, claiming that it will worsen further the human rights abuses of the RPA-ABB in Negros. He even requested the SP to seek a congressional inquiry on the RPA-ABB alleged terroristic activities, of the further that was turned down by the provincial board members, who said they have no jurisdiction over Congress.
Lactao said there are always third parties who will spoil the peace agreement.
Regional line agency officers of Western Visayas and Central Visayas recently attended workshops to help flesh out the proposed closure agreement.
Director Alexander Umpar of OPAPP’s Peace Accord Monitoring Secretariat, who facilitated the workshops, said its outputs will help put substance to the emerging components of the closure pact.
The workshops also helped identity livelihood and employment opportunities and other mechanisms for economic reintegration.
Umpar said Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr. and Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who were met by OPPAP officials, also expressed their support to the closure of the peace pact. *GPB