DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio signed the order creating the peace committee tasked to deal with the New People’s Army (NPA) for the localized peace talks although she still has to appoint somebody from the private sector to head the committee.
“Because it is the obligation of your duly elected public officials to pursue just and lasting peace for the city, we have created the Davao City - Local Peace Committee (DC–Peace) with the objective and the function to manage the localized peace talks with the New People’s Army operating within the area of responsibility of Davao City,” she said.
She added that the DC–Peace members are Maria Luisa Bermudo of the City Social Services and Development Office, Lawyer Elisa Lapina of the City Legal Office, Barangay Malabog chief Jessielito Areja, and Archbishop Romulo Valles of the Catholic Church.
Duterte-Carpio added they have tapped consultants to assist them, and they are still vetting for a chairperson hopefully from the private sector.
Duterte-Carpio said that the committee will only be good until November 2018.
“If there are no significant developments and movement in the localized process, we will pursue other options to attain peace. I am asking our NPA friends to work with us in the local government. After all, we all want to see a better Davao and we surely can attain this if you work beside us,” the mayor said
Duterte-Carpio initially said that she wants to offer livelihood programs for rebels who want to surrender.
She added that the program will also include reintegration of the rebel combatants to their communities if they are not from Davao City.
Members of the committee will have their designated functions.
Duterte-Carpio in a separate press briefing defended that localized peace talks will not affect the peace talks held by the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army/ National Democratic Front with the Government of the Philippines since despite the suspension of talks, localized peace talks are not discouraged.
She added that they will have a year to check if the talks will work.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 13, 2017.
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