NEGROS Oriental Governor Roel Degamo said he will meet with officials of the religious sector in the province to impart the government's approach in countering insurgency.
He said leaders of the religious sectors can help in advancing the peace initiatives of the government especially since they can reach out to the residents living in the hinterlands.
"Nagtuo kita na sila ang pinaka-neutral na mangulo sa atong pakahimuon na local peace initiatives (I believe that they are neutral and the right people to be at the forefront of our local peace initiatives)," Degamo said in a press briefing at the Provincial Capitol on February 13.
"It's proper to pull them together and we will talk. Ga-expect ta na active sila na mo-participate especially sa ilang mga members kung unsay gipanglatod na mga buhatunon sa Elcac (We expect them to actively participate and involve their members especially on the activities of the Elcac)," he added, referring to the Negros Oriental Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NOTF Elcac).
The governor's meeting with religious leader is set on Wednesday next week.
Meanwhile, Degamo said construction of roads in areas affected by insurgency has already started.
"Ang roads nato karon sa mga affected areas like Pantiao, Cabcaban paingon sa Nalundan naa tay ongoing na road concreting karon na nahuman na kutob sa Cabcaban. Dunay additional funding gikan sa Cabcaban padung sa Nalundan paingon sa Poblacion, Bindoy (We have ongoing road concreting in affected areas like Pantiao, Cabcaban going to Nalundan. So far, the completed part is until Cabcaban. We have additional funds to extend the concreting of roads from Cabcaban to Nalundan going to Poblacion, Bindoy)," Degamo said.
"Katong nahuman na is P209 million dayun naa tay additional na P70 million for this year. Kung mahuman nato na atong maapahapsay ang dalan gikan sa Mabinay paingon sa Luyang-Pantiao-Cabcaban-Nalundan (The part that was completed cost P209 million and we have allocated additional P70 million this year to finish the project. Once this gets completed, we will be able to concretize the passage from Mabinay town going to Luyang-Pantiao-Cabcaban-Nalundan)," he said.
"Ang atoang Hilaitan-Trinidad road (in Guihulngan City), ongoing and according to the Provincial Engineer's Office mas advance ang ilang accomplishment as expected (The concreting of Hilaitan-Trinidad Road in Guihulngan City is also ongoing and according to the Provincial Engineer's Office they are accomplishing a lot than expected)," the governor added.
The areas mentioned by Degamo are located in the northern part of the province.
Degamo also noted that there is an ongoing road concreting in Barangay Dobdob in Valencia town and another road construction will start in sitios Nagbagang going to Avocado in Sta. Catalina town.
The concreting of roads is one of the priority interventions identified to address the problems associated with insurgency in Negros Oriental.
Meanwhile, Degamo declared that more barangays in the province will be covered by NOTF Elcac.
He did not disclose how many or the specific names of barangays, but said these are located in the towns of Manjuyod, Ayungon, and Bindoy.
The NOTF Elcac's main approach to counter insurgency is to address the needs of the community, enhance the delivery of social services in the hinterlands, and bring government programs and services closer to the people.
Degamo emphasized in the past activities of the task force that lasting peace cannot be attained by bullets but rather by winning the hearts of the people. (PIA)