From the Visayan Daily Star (Sep 10): DENR to hire RPA men as
forest guards: OPAPP
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources will hire members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade as “forest guards” as part of the closure peace agreement, Undersecretary Ma.Cleofe Sandoval of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process, said yesterday.
Ninety- five of the 105 RPA-ABB members who will be trained as forest guards, attended the orientation and training program initiated by DENR and OPPAP at the Sugarland Hotel in Bacolod City yesterday, Sandoval said.
OPPAP also led the groundbreaking of P37 million farm to market road in Brgy. Locotan, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, last week.
Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. had expressed his dismay over the delay in the signing of closure agreement between the RPA-ABB and the government. The peace agreement was signed in year 2000 .
Sandoval said they were informed that the draft of the closure agreement is now at the desk of President Benigno Aquino III, had been reviewed by OPPAP and several offices at the Office of the President.
She added that OPPAP and the President want to ensure that the provisions stipulated in the closure agreement can be implemented.
Since the administration of then Gov. Joseph Maranon, the RPA-ABB, which is now known as Kapatiran sa Progresong Panlipunan (KPP) has been an active partner of Task Force Ilahas, an environmental enforcement unit of the provincial government, in the fight against timber poaching activities at the Northern Negros Natural Park, especially in Don Salvador Benedicto town.
The five-paragraph press statement was issued at the closing of the first day of session. It was initialled by all members of both peace panels, in the presence of the Malaysian Facilitator and other foreign observers who graced this round of talks between the parties.
The statement, among others, called for the stop of the violence and asked that the perpetrators be held accountable for their acts.
They described the current violence in Mindanao as act of people who do not want the peace process between the GPH and MILF to succeed.
The peace panels also vowed to finish the peace process without delay and sign the comprehensive peace agreement.
They also extended their heartfelt sympathy to and solidarity with the people of Zamboanga City and other areas affected by such violence.
As this developed, Misuari’s men were reportedly still holding at least 180 residents in two coastal villages here on Tuesday, using them as human shields to prevent government troops from attacking them.
Misuari’s men landed by boat from nearby Sulu and Basilan provinces and poured into the fishing villages on Monday, causing panic in the city of nearly one million people.
Misuari had earlier declared “independence” on the eve of another round of peace negotiations between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the government in Kuala Lumpur.
He has criticized a preliminary peace deal signed last year by the government and the MILF, claiming that it marginalized the MNLF and a peace agreement signed in 1996.
A Scout Ranger Battalion (SRB) based in Negros Island and over 100 policemen from Cebu were deployed to Zamboanga on Tuesday to augment government troops there.
The initial attack killed four people and left 14 injured, Luwaran reporter said via cell phone short message system (SMS).
Nearly 5,,000 families, the report added, have fled their homes and are now staying at the city grandstand, Tetuan Church, Tetuan Elementary School, Mampang Elementary School, Talon-Talon National High School and the Department of Public Works and Highways compound.
It was not, however, whether Commander Haber Malik, is personally leading the siege in Zamboanga City.
Report also said that Malik was demanding for the intervention of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a demand met coldly by authorities in Manila, report added.