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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, September 9, 2013
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Signing of peace closure
pact may take place 2013

BY GILBERT BAYORAN

The office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace process is hopeful that the closure agreement for the peace negotiations between the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (Tabara-Paduano Group) and the government will be signed before the year ends.

OPPAP Director Alex Umpar, who was recently at the groundbreaking of the Cabugao farm-to-market road in Aklan, said that to put proper closure to the peace talks, the government is aiming to sign a closure agreement with the RPM-P/RPA/ABB to ensure that the peace agreement of 2000 will be fully implemented.

We hope that the signing will be done by the end of this year, Umpar said in a statement released by OPPAP.

Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., who is actively involved in the peace and developmental campaign of the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade in Negros, had earlier expressed his frustration over the delay in the signing of the closure agreement.

On Friday, OPPAP Undersecretaries Maria Cleofe Sandoval and Luisito Montalbo led the groundbreaking for 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.

Brgy. Locotan in Kabankalan City and Brgy. Bagonbon in San Carlos City, are among the two PDCs identified by the RPM-P/RPA/ABB Tabara Paduano Group in Negros Occidental.

Representatives of various government agencies, including the military and police, signed a manifesto to support the peace efforts, during the groundbreaking ceremony in Brgy. Locotan, that was attended by RPM-P chairwoman Veronica Tabara.

Umpar said the PAMANA interventions are determined, based on the profiling needs of the RPM-P/RPA/ABB members matched with available and feasible options in an area. This serves to support livelihood and enterprise development and community-based impact projects, he said.

A component of the closure agreement is the social and economic reintegration of RPM-P/RPA/ABB members as well as community peace dividends through the establishment of Peace and Development Communities, or settlement sites, with PAMANA (Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan) as the primary mechanism being utilized to deliver the components of the agreement.

OPPAP has already completed the profiling of 716 RPM-P/RPA-ABB members all over the country, including the guns and explosives in their possessions.

The former rebel armed group has changed its name from RPA-ABB to Kapatiran sa Progresong Panlipunan, or Brotherhood for Social Progress, in line with the goal of the government to transform the group into a legitimate socio-economic and political organization. * GPB

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