Negros Oriental Governor Roel Ragay Degamo urged the caused-oriented groups to support the provincial government’s efforts aimed to achieve total peace and development in the province because it is what the Negrenses deserve.

The governor issued this statement after a caused-oriented group recently presented a certain Gennie Labrador who claimed he is not a member of the NPA.

Based on records, however, Labrador is actually a former NPA rebel but is presently already a rebel returnee.

It may be recalled that Labrador claimed he is not an NPA member but an ordinary farmer who was invited by the personnel of the DSWD to attend the formal declaration of Negros Oriental as a conflict-manageable and development-ready province held at the Negros Oriental Convention Center.

During a press conference called by the caused-oriented groups, Labrador said he was surprised why he was presented as an NPA member when the authorities knew that he is just a farmer from Santa Catalina.  

The above incident prompted Governor Degamo to direct some members of the Adhoc Committee on Rebel Returnees and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to verify Labrador’s claim.

During the verification made by Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Miss Alice Lagarde, with the assistance of CHR Field Officer Jesus Canete, Labarador admitted that he was indeed a former rebel and that he underwent the verification process of rebel returnees.

He further admitted that he received financial assistance from the government and he revealed that he was allegedly forced by members of the caused-oriented groups Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and Karapatan to say otherwise.

Governor Degamo said the statement made by Labrador put closure to the claim of these groups and can be viewed as their strategy to taint the recent declaration of Negros Oriental as a conflict-manageable and development-ready province.

He said he has full confidence and trust on the process of verification employed by the adhoc committee as to the extent of participation of a particular person in the NPA movement because the process is so intricate and its requirements are stringent.

The records from the PSWDO show that Labrador indeed turned himself over to the authorities in 2012 and underwent the process of verification and validation by the adhoc committee after which he was eventually given livelihood and cash assistance.

The governor said he welcomes oppositions because these only show that the democratic process is working in the province.

“I welcome positions and opinions which are not in consonance with our advocacies because I fully respect the others rights to free speech. But they must be aware that the right to free speech also goes with huge responsibilities especially when the information tend to sow intrigues and chaos among the people,” the governor said.

The governor enjoins these caused oriented groups to help the government provide safeguards in order to protect the rights and interests of the people especially in the hinterlands who are mostly the victims of misinformation and abuses.

“You can be the watchdogs of truth and justice for these people and the provincial government is open to that as we do not discriminate with whom to partner with as long as they are for the interest and welfare of the people which we are mandated to uphold and protect,” the governor stated.

He said the provincial government will continue to work in parallel with various national government agencies and the private sector in order to sustain the recent accomplishment of the Negresnes which is actually the fruit of their long years of fighting and struggling.

“As I have said, let the blood of the Negresnes who fell during the times of armed struggle and darkness be the ink that will finally seal the quest for peace and development of the province,” Gov Degamo said.