AFP vows to rid Kalinga of terrorism
by L. Lopez
Tabuk, Kalinga (5 December) -- The new leadership of the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army vowed to extend full support to counter- insurgency and anti-terrorism campaigns at the same time declared that "peace and unity is a denomination for an economic boom".
BGen Rommel A. Gomez, Commander of 5th Infantry Division based in Gamu, Isabela and includes Kalinga under its area of responsibility, was among top military commanders who graced the peace rally and summit held on November 24.
The peace campaign that started with a march rally culminated with a peace summit at the Kalinga-Apayao State College. This was attended by municipal local government officials and elders from the different sub-tribes of Kalinga. The provincial peace summit ended a series of municipal peace consultations earlier conducted by the provincial government.
"Through this endeavor, peace will be achieved through the collective efforts of the people seeking to establish peace that will lead to the economic development of the province and in the long run uplift the well being of the iKALINGAS", Gomez, a native Cordilleran from Mt. Province said.
He congratulated the people of Kalinga for their unity which he said "only proves that they want to live a peaceful life towards development. "The event was very awesome, a display of the true meaning of people power and a vibrant scenario in achieving peace in the province", he said.
The peace rally was also highlighted by testimonies of a former rebel, who after nine years in the underground movement, opted to return to the mainstream of society to live a normal life. The Armed Forces of the Philippines enlisted him in the military service.
Other testimonies were given by a reformed offender who was previously considered a notorious person in the province but now preaching the words of God. The other one is a victim of violence/criminality but was not seeking revenge instead prayed that justice prevail of what has happened to her family.
Governor Floydelia Diasen led the oath of allegiance and commitment to peace, which was followed by flying of doves, releasing of balloons, waving of white hankies and mass singing of nationalistic songs. TOG2 helicopters also showered confetti that further boosted the spirit of the activity. (PIA) [top]