CHURCH leaders in Negros Island, along with members from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), organized the CMP (Church-Military-Police) Forum at the Bishop's House Sunday, August 25, to promote and respect human dignity and to achieve sustainable peace and development in Negros.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between four dioceses and top military and police officials in Negros Island to establish the CMP Forum, which serves as an institutional platform for dialogue and as an action mechanism to address issues and concerns that may emerge in the field.
The MOU was signed by Bacolod Bishop Buzon, San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, Kabankalan Bishop Louie Galbines, Military Bishop Oscar Jaime Florencio, Dolina, Pamuspusan, Brigadier Generals Benedict Arevalo and Ignacio Madriaga, Police Colonels Ildebrandi Usana and Romeo Baleros, and Rizalito Gapas and Henry Binas.
The newly-signed MOU also serves as a baseline document for the Church, AFP, and PNP to govern their engagements regarding realities on security, peace, and order affecting Negros Island.
Patterned from the Church-Military-Police Advisory Group (CMPAG), established in 2018, it aims to forge a harmonious relationship and cooperation among the four Roman Catholic Dioceses of Negros Island, the AFP, and the PNP.
The revitalization of CMPAG to CMF Forum also came in the wake of killings in Negros that claimed the lives of 50 persons from October 20, 2018 to July this year.
The four Negros bishops said the figures are staggering, citing the killings of 21 individuals within a period of a week.
Fr. Chris Gonzales, Social Action Center director of the Diocese of Bacolod, said the military is not the solution to decades-old insurgency problem in Negros Island, stressing the need for cooperation of every sector from society.
Gonzales said the military and police officials were happy of the initiative being undertaken.
Major General Dinoh Dolina, 3rd Infantry Division commander, lauded the MOU signing and expected for the start of a closer and more amiable relationship between the church, the military, and the police.
"Rest assured that the military leadership is really serious in our mandate to facilitate peace in Negros. In every undertaking that we do, as what I have learned in my childhood days, we always invoke the presence of God. We, the blessings of God, we hope we will be able to finish our job in Negros," Dolina said.
Police Brigadier General Rene Pamuspusan, regional police director of Western Visayas, said the CMP Forum-Negros will help them on law enforcement campaign and public safety.
Pamumusan added that the forum takes a step forward in forging and strengthening strategic partnership in bringing peace and order, as well as promoting human rights in Negros.
"CMP Forum-Negros will expect our full cooperation and support in ensuring an open line of communication and capability enhancement program between the four dioceses of Negros Island and the AFP," he said. (TDE)