CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, Nov. 29 (PNA) -– Top government officials with authority over peace and order, asked local officials in Samar province to prioritize addressing the age-old insurgency problem in their area.
In a meeting with mayors here, Philippine Army Central Command Commander Brig. Gen. Raul Del Rosario and Department of the Interior and Local Government Eastern Visayas Regional Director Maribel Sacendoncillo both agreed that rebellion persists in the province due to poverty and corruption.
“It’s more than 40 years now that we are fighting insurgency. We will not prosper if insurgency remains to be our main concern. We need to address this to have peace that will lead us to development,” said Del Rosario.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to initiate peace talks with the National Democratic Front is a bold and first step to achieve the lasting peace that the government wants to achieve for the country, according to the military official.
“We are encouraging to also have peace talks in the local level while the top officials in the government and the NDF are also doing the same,” Del Rosario added.
Sacendoncillo asked local officials to address the root cause of insurgency by improving local governance.
Sacendoncillo cited Bohol province as an example when local government units curbed corruption, insurgency eventually ended, making the province as one of the popular tourist destinations in the country.
“It’s so attractive for people to join insurgency when they have issues against the government. Our mandate is to give proper services and better opportunity to its people. For ordinary Filipinos, they see that the government is good when they see the local governance as competent and honest, their perception of governance rest on us and not on Malacañang,” Sacendoncillo added.
“If we attack this on that point of view, there is no reason for us not to succeed,” she stressed.
Samar is one of the 10 poorest provinces in country with 43.5 poverty incidence based on the 2015 report of the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Nearby provinces also posted high poverty incidence – Eastern Samar with 55.4 percent and Northern Samar with 43.5 percent. (PNA/ Roel T. Amazona)