PROVINCIAL CAPITOL, MISAMIS ORIENTAL - (MIKE BAÑOS / July 10) - Misamis Oriental Gov. Oscar S. Moreno revealed in his 2nd State of the Province Address (SOPA) delivered yesterday before a special session of the Misamis Oriental Provincial Board that the province will be pursuing a different tack from the national government in its bid to address the communist insurgency.
"The national government has to adopt a policy it can implement to demonstrate its resolve and decisiveness to address the insurgency once and for all," Moreno said. "Being the national government, it has to implement a policy that is applicable in all areas."
"But here in Misamis Oriental we are adopting a strategy which we hope will prove better and that is to bring government closer to the people," Moreno stressed.
Moreno cited the "threshold case" of Sitio Lantad in Bgy. Kibanban in his hometown of Balingasag, Misamis Oriental as a showcase of how teamwork between various agencies of government and a resolute commitment to bring peace and prosperity to the people has successfully converted the former enclave and regional headquarters of the New People's Army (NPA) into a growing, vibrant community of forward looking and optimistic residents.
"It is easier to make war than peace," Moreno told media at a press conference following his 2 nd SOPA. "I hope we will exert every effort to achieve peace that is lasting, fulfilling and satisfying."
He also thanked Maj. General Cardozo Luna, 4th Infantry Diamond Division commanding general and the highest ranked military officer in the region, "for giving us the lead in local strategy and acknowledging the constitutional guarantee that civilian authority at all times remains supreme."
Moreno said the provincial government would be fighting a different kind of war. "It's a war to win the hearts of the people."
Two years ago, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also pushed for peace talks at the local level, ordering the implementation of the terms of a peace pact with a splinter rebel faction, the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade. However, the peace process with the RPA-ABB and another splinter group in Northern Mindanao, the Rebolusyonarying Patrido ng Mamamayang Pilipino (RPMM) have continued.
National Democratic Front (political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines) negotiating panel chairman Luis Jalandoni called for renewed peace talks July 5 after President Arroyo's declaration of an all-out war against the NPA last week. Arroyo released P1 billion war chest to finance the renewed campaign against the NPA.
The NDF, the political arm of the communist insurgents which groups the CPP and its armed wing, the New People's Army, and 13 other underground organizations, pulled out of the peace talks in August 2004.
"In repudiation of the regime's all-out war policy and the extra-judicial killings and involuntary disappearances of political and leftist activists, we call for the resumption of formal peace talks between the GRP and the NDF as soon as possible," Jalandoni said.
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