Guv offers to lead talks with NPA

DAVAO DEL NORTE Governor Rodolfo del Rosario is bent on strengthening the localized peace process by offering to lead negotiations to convince rebels in the region to return to the fold of the law.

Del Rosario, president of the Confederation of all the League of Governors and Mayors in Mindanao (Confed), has volunteered to head a local mission that would persuade New People's Army members to lay down their arms.

"I am more than willing to lead a mission that will try to talk to them," the governor told military and local officials, who joined him at the recent convergence health and social outreach in Sta. Fe, New Corella, Davao del Norte.

Reacting to a report by barangay chief Paramon Jala about several sightings of the armed group in the timberland community, 1003rd Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Buenaventura Pascual asked the village leaders to immediately provide the army accurate information on the exact location of the insurgents so the military could conduct a successful military operation against the rebels.

However, del Rosario reminded the officials about the Aquino administration's non-combat and multi-stakeholder approach in addressing the insurgency problem and in winning the peace by 2016.

He asked the barangay leaders to help work for the return of the rebels to the fold of the law, as he expressed his readiness to head a mission that will pursue a local peace talk with the insurgents.

"Let us help them return to their normal lives by convincing them to lay down their arms and join our development efforts," the governor said.

Del Rosario bared the province has shown its sincerity in localizing the peace process by launching the convergence program two years ago, in partnership with the army and the police, among other agencies.

Over 40,000 indigents in geographically-isolated and depressed areas have benefitted from the abundance of health and social services, that include medical and dental services, legal consultation, feeding program, animal care and agri services, among others.

Lt. Col. Llewelyn Binasoy further disclosed the number of government assistance intended to hasten the reintegration of the returnees to mainstream society.

He said a surrenderee is entitled to a reintegration assistance of P15,000 and livelihood assistance worth P15,000 upon yielding. Another reintegration aid of P50,000 will be given for the surrender of firearms.



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