The closure peace agreement between the government and the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (Tabara-Paduano Group) in Western Visayas, has been approved by Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles, Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo yesterday said.
Montalbo, who has been following up the closure peace agreement, said it is now on its way to Malacañang, for the approval of President Benigno Aquino III.
The closure peace agreement aims to transform the RPA-ABB into a civilian, political, economic organization; and to mainstream its members into their communities, provide them with livelihood and employment, and move them towards disarmament and the dismantling of their military structure.
OPPAP records show that, of the 716 profiled RPA-ABB members, 607 are in Negros Occidental, 58 in Negros Oriental, and the rest scattered in Panay and some areas of Mindanao and Luzon.
The Regional Peace and Order Council of Western Visayas, in a resolution, expressed its support for the closure agreement, and said 107 barangays in 31 cities and municipalities of the region, including the 37 villages in Negros Occidental, will benefit from livelihood projects as a result of the peace process.
The OPPAP has proposed a P279.16 million budget for livelihood and development programs for conflict-affected communities identified by the RPA-ABB Tabara-Paduano Group, which will be implemented through the PAMANA (Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan) program, a national government framework and program for conflict-affected areas, and in communities covered by existing peace agreements.
Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Panlungsod and the City Development Council of San Carlos City endorsed a proposed development plan for the RPA-ABB settlement and production area in Sitio Nangka, Brgy. Bagonbon of the city.
The PAMANA–Technical Working Group of San Carlos City has recommended a P38 million Potential Investment Plan, to fund a road concreting project, that will link remote Brgys. Punao and Bagonbon, and the construction of a health center.
As stipulated in the closure agreement, the RPA-ABB Tabara Paduano Group has agreed to lay down its firearms, even without monetary remuneration. It possesses more than 400 firearms and 300 explosives.
The Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Aklan and Negros Oriental Peace and Order Councils, Bacolod and Amlan Peace and Order Councils, and the Negros Association of Chief Executives, Inc. have also expressed support to the closure peace agreement.
OPAPP is also negotiating with the other group, the RPM-P-RPA-ABB, headed by Nilo de la Cruz.* GPB