MAYOR Celso Lobregat, with all necessary documents on hand, attended the consultation series conducted by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) in Dipolog City to reiterate Zamboanga's stand on interim peace agreements.
Unlike the supposed consultation held in this city last December 15 to 16, the Dipolog City consultation was well coordinated with all participants properly informed. It was intended only for the local government unit (LGU) chief executives of the Zambonga Peninsula.
Lobregat brought all documents in his possession concerning interim peace agreements starting from the time of the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD)--an agreement between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), up to the time when Lobregat was interviewed by the government panel led by Ambassador Seguis in Manila in April of last year.
Lobregat also brought with him a letter addressed to Seguis concerning the conduct of another consultation in Zamboanga City this month and copies of the video documentary that the mayor produced, which highlights Zamboangueños' continuous fight against inclusion in any interim peace agreements.
Lobregat was informed of the Dipolog consultation series last December 22 when he received Seguis' letter dated December 21.
The mayor received a follow up letter from Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Austere Panaderos last December 28.
He said that before the start of the consultation Thursday, he is ready to air the Zamboangueños' stand as well as air observations concerning the conduct of the consultation series.
Lobregat strongly protested the conduct of the supposed consultation in Zamboanga last December 15 to 16 because of the very short notice and the lack of coordination with panel members and several other observations. It includes the tapping of a member of the Bangsamoro Society, who was one of the respondent-intervenor against the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) before the Supreme Court, as head of the panel secretariat.
Lobregat received his invitation for the December 15 to 16 consultation only on December 14 or a day before the two-day event.
Other city mayors in the region also did not receive and did not attend the activity.
Even Adelbert Antonino, the government's panel member representing the local government units, was not informed of the Zamboanga consultation until Lobregat called him through telephone.
"Considering the importance of this "consultation" on the peace process, it is quite a surprise that the coordination of this activity was made on a very short notice, taking into consideration that activities related to the yuletide season are hectic", Mayor Lobregat said in his letter to Panaderos copy furnished to Seguis and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Annabelle Abaya.
Abaya shared Lobregat's concern and in an electronic mail to the mayor last December 29, he assured the conduct of a meaningful and credible consultation concerning the peace process in this city this month.
Lobregat personally talked Wednesday with Abaya and resolved that plans for the conduct of a genuine and honest consultation in this city this month will be finalized. (Bong Garcia)