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PIA Press Release

Singson graces Central Visayas info officers confab

by Rachelle M. Nessia

Cebu City (6 November) -- Deputy National Security Adviser Luis "Chavit" Singson graced the second day of the three-day Consultative Conference of government information officers in Region 7 today at the Golden Prince Hotel and Suites in Cebu City.

Singson gave an internal security situationer, focusing on the Philippine government's campaign against armed insurgency.

He said that the administration's strategic security programs aim to stamp out armed conflict in the country which he said has hounded the Philippines for almost half a century.

He noted that progress remains a dream in the Philippines due to its problem with peace and order. "Rebellion is one of the longest-running problems in our country," he stressed, citing the NPA-NDP group led by Joma Sison and the MNLF.

At 40 years already, the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF) is one of the longest-surviving communist insurgencies in Asia.

"Since the fall of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986, many concessions were given to the rebels such as political prisoners were free; amnesty program was offered and anti-subversion law was repealed," he said.

Singson noted that organizations and personalities aligned with the Communist movement were allowed to freely participate in the country's democratic process, hence, "we have the party list organizations holding seats in the Congress," he said.

He said that the NPAs have launched bold attacks against civilian and military targets but the insurgents are not strong enough to overthrow or supplant the government. "However, the Communist insurgency has kept the nation in a state of conflict and instability," he said.

Currently, there is an impasse on the peace process with the CPP-NPA-NDF with the formal peace talks on hold since 2004 as Singson disclosed that the NDF wanted the joint agreement on safety and immunity guarantees (JASIG) to be reinstated, while the NDF demanded the lifting of the Foreign Terrorist Organization tag on CPP, NPA and Joma Sison.

In his talk, Singson said the national government has formulated the National Internal Security Plan, with two major thrusts: to put an end to armed rebellion and promote a culture of peace in the country.

NISP has developed five offenses to reach its goals, namely: political, legal, military, economic and strategic communication.

Despite the gloom cast by the armed rebellion over the country, Singson said the Philippines has every reason to be optimist about its future. "In 2007, our gross domestic product registered a record high and we have manifested a remarkable resiliency in the midst of the economic meltdown," he said.

He added firmly: "We have to overcome the last remaining obstacle to our progress, which is armed rebellion and this government is intent on ending armed conflict here."

He ended his speech by urging the information officers to help the government attain peace and security by educating and enlightening the grassroots "so that they may not be misled by empty promises and false hopes."

Singson was the last in a line of speakers to talk before close to 60 information officers from all over Region 7 who gathered in Cebu City for the 18th consultative conference of the Regional Association of Development Information Officers (RADIO).

The annual activity is spearheaded by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA). (PIA/rmn) [top]

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