From the Mindanao Times (Sep 30): Development more than talks, says OPAPP
With THE lifting of the peace talks with the Communist groups, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) said they are not reducing their actions to promote peace with the rebels.
“This peace (should) not just be for negotiations, security issues, but also on the other bigger part which is development,” said OPAPP Secretary Jesus Dureza during the culmination program of the National Peace Consciousness Month held at Rizal Park on Friday.
“We cannot sustain peace if we do not have development that will improve the lives of people. Conversely, we could not attain development, even if we extend help if there is no peace,” he added.
Currently, OPAPP centers on development through the Enhance Comprehensive Localized Integration Program (E-CLIP), which provides benefits for rebel returnees.
“I just heard from (Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, commander of Philippine Army’s Eastern Mindanao Command) just last week that there were 85 who availed of the E-Clip,” said Dureza.
According to Dureza, the government has exerted effort to address the needs of the communist group but they also need reciprocity from the other side on the favorable actions done by the current administration.
“The president has already given so much concession that started with peace negotiations, putting out of jail of more than 20 high level leaders, offered cabinet positions, and even ordered cease fire,” Dureza said.
“(We should) look at the triggers of conflict and act upon it. When one feels they are left behind by the government, they tend to bring about chaos,” the secretary said.
However, Dureza also added that peace talks may still be possible.
“We did not totally shut the door for negotiations. Peace talks will still happen depending on the situation and of course with the guidance of the President,” he said.