The development of a Peace and Development Community (PDC) site in Negros Occidental, identified by the former rebel armed group, kicked off yesterday even as the peace closure agreement between the government and the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (Tabara- Paduano wing) is still under review by President Benigno Aquino III.
Earlier, Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. and some stakeholders, including the RPMP-RPA-ABB , expressed their frustration over the delay in the signing of the closure agreement.
Undersecretaries Maria Cleofe Sandoval and Luisito Montalbo of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process yesterday led the groundbreaking ceremony of a P37 million farm to market road in Brgy. Locotan, about 49 kilometers away from the Kabankalan City proper that used to be among the conflict-affected communities in southern Negros.
Two other identified PDCs in Negros Occidental are located in the hinterland barangays of Cadiz and San Carlos cities, with documents to start their development now in process, Sandoval said.
Other PAMANA (Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan) projects of OPPAP at the Brgy. Locotan resettlement site of the former RPMP-RPA-ABB members, are the construction of a 1.1 kilometer water system with a budget of P3.5 million, electrification (5.1 kms) worth P2.5 million, day care centers –P4 million, and health and social facilities – P3 million.
To ensure sustainability of the projects, Sandoval said they will be turned over to the local government units concerned, for management and maintenance.
She also thanked Marañon and Mayor Isidro Zayco for their all-out support to their peace and development-related activities.
Joyce Wendam, who represented Larry Nacionales, regional director of the Department of Agriculture in Western Visayas, yesterday turned over a P18.5 million check to Zayco, for the concreting of the 7.4 kilometer farm-to-market road in the barangay.
The PDC site in Brgy. Locotan, Kabankalan City, has a total land area of 179.64 hectares, with a population of 930.
Col. Jon Aying, 303 rd Infantry Brigade commander, and Supt. Calixto Mabugat, Kabankalan police chief, who represented Senior Supt. Milko Lirazan, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, urged the residents to protect the project site.
DENR regional technical director Levino Duran said they will provide employment to former RPA-ABB members, as protectors of the environment in the area.
Representatives of various government agencies, including the Diocese of Kabankalan, also signed a manifesto to support the peace and development efforts of OPPAP in the area.
Veronica Tabara, RPM-P chairperson, yesterday said that she and OPPAP also recently led the launching of a similar PDC site in Panay. *GPB