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PIA Press Release

PGMA urges Region 2 leaders to set aside politics; solve problems thru peaceful ways

Manila (4 August) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has called on the leaders of the Cagayan Valley to set aside politics and instead unite in solving the problems of the region in a peaceful and civilized way.

Speaking before the Local Peace and Security Assembly (LPSA) of Region II at the Roma Hotel in Tuguegarao City last week, the President noted that while the peace and order situation in the region has been improving, the crime rate in some towns has been increasing due to continuing partisan politics.

While congratulating the regional police office for the "improvement of the crime rate here," the President lamented that crimes attributed to parochial politics continue to beset the region.

"I would like to congratulate you for the improvement of the crime rate here… Congratulations to the PNP (Philippine National Police), General Damian…

"But they say that there are still towns here where the crime rate is increasing, and people also say that the crimes here are politically-related," the President said in the Ilocano dialect.

She then called on the concerned local leaders to set aside politics, saying that the local elections are still far off.

"Let us talk about the roots of problems in a peaceful and civilized way. That is the way we should discuss our differences," she said.

In her speech, the President thanked the LPSA for their resolutions calling for peace and order in the region. Region II covers Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino.

"There are new challenges today. But let us not forget our original vision of attaining peace for the entire country," she said.

"That's why we continue conducting regional peace and security assemblies… to do all we can to address all the issues that are weighing down our efforts towards a permanent peace and stability," the President stressed.

President Arroyo also congratulated the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the "decline in the number of armed rebels" in the region.

She expressed elation that the number of New People's Army (NPA) insurgents was down to less than 500 in the Cagayan Valley Region.

The President said she was hoping that eventually the NPA rebels could be enticed to embrace and join the way of change and peace.

"That's what we want to do in this Regional Peace and Order Assembly," she said. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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