The peace agreement between the government and the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Mangagawa-Pilipinas-Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade is now inching toward closure with the start of the profiling of its 346 members in Negros Occidental.
RPM-P-RPA-ABB leaders, military and police officials yesterday described it as a breakthrough after more than a decade of peace negotiations.
Victorino Sumulong, RPA-ABB spokesman, said the profiling is a prelude to the actual signing of a closure to the peace agreement.
President Benigno Aquino had earlier ordered the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process to step up the process with the RPM-P-RPA-ABB that broke away from the mainstream New People’s Army.
“Our sincerity in the peace agreement is beyond what is written” Sumulong stressed.
RPA-ABB national commander Carapali Lualhati and Sumulong said they are more than ready to meet halfway with the government, in order to realize the peace agreement.
The scheduled profiling of 346 armed RPA-ABB members in Negros Occidental by OPPAP personnel will start today in Districts 1 and 6, District 2 on Oct. 24 and 27, Districts 3,4 and 5 on Oct. 28 to 21.
The profiling will include gathering of personal data and determination of livelihood packages they may avail of under the peace agreement.
Lualhati said they been waiting for more than 10 years, for the government to deliver and implement what has been approved and signed in the agreement.
“The ball is now in the hands of the government,” Lualhati, who met with top military and police officials at Camp Alfredo Montelibano Sr. in Bacolod City, said. He was accompanied by 15 of his field commanders in the meeting that was also attended by Don Salvador Benedicto Mayor Marxlen de la Cruz and his father, Board Member Nehemias de la Cruz.
The peace agreement was signed in year 2000 in Don Salvador Benedicto, witnessed by then President Joseph Estrada and business tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.
Unlike the peace negotiations between the government and National Democratic Front that keeps on hitting snags, Lualhati said they are hoping for the closure of their peace agreement under the Aquino administration.
Lualhati said he is aware of the intention of some groups in Negros to sabotage their ongoing peace talks, but what is important is that majority of the Negrenses want peace.
Luisito Montalvo, OPPAP executive director, said they hope to sign an agreement with the RMP-P-RPA-ABB before the year ends, or early 2012.
Sumulong also said entering into the peace process is not a form of surrender. “We believe that armed struggle is no longer a primary form of initiating changes in society based on the present setting of the Philippines with a façade of democracy,” he added.
Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, and Senior Supt. Allan Guisihan, provincial police director, said the military and police will facilitate the movement of armed RPA-ABB members from their residences to the six profiling sites, to be escorted by the military and police.
Lactao also shared the optimism of RPA-ABB leaders on the closure of the peace agreement, saying, “We have no choice but to be optimistic in pursuing peace, we need perseverance,” he added.*GPB