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PIA Press Release

Commentary: AO No. 172 signed by PGMA to help former rebels’ quest for better lives

By Jessie R. Valdez

San Fernando City, La Union (16 April) -- Administrative Order (AO) No. 172 entitled “Creating the National Committee on Social Integration (NCSI) was signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo last March 23, 2007 to strengthen the Government’s efforts to help former armed rebels who want to return to the fold because of quest for better life.

In a statement, Secretary Jesus Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (PAPP) said Pres. Arroyo created the committee because it is vital to the overall peace process of the government as well as it is essential to the search for a just, lasting and sustainable peace of the country.

Seretary Dureza added that he clarified the government’s efforts to forge a negotiated principles settlement with rebel groups like the MILF is a priority.

Pursuant to the AO, the newly created committee, the NCSI will be under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) who will implement the Social Integration Program (SIP), a stronger and more comprehensive program that includes management of forces and arms of all ex-rebels and their transition to lead normal lives.

Thru this program, it also aims to collect high-powered guns from unauthorized civilians and their acts of destruction and decommissioning. It will also address the concerns of other armed rebels who might disrupt the gains the country had made and this is what the government is trying to preserve and sustain especially in their negotiations with the MILF.

The program is laudable as it strengthens the peace process of the government and will provide a better environment for the Filipinos.

The Government’s commitment of helping former rebels live normal and productive lives which primarily aim for peace and order in the south is a plus factor for every Filipino. This matrix development will not only bring down crime rate in the country but will also boost development in the countryside.

Moreover, consistent with the government’s efforts is their program of providing rebel returnees various livelihood programs and projects that they too will be benefited. This endeavor will lift up the spirits of the ex-rebels and a way of investing them with dignity and imbue them with hope. (PIA La Union) [top]

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