Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo has called on his political opponents and other civil officials to set aside politics and work together for the good of the province in order to achieve peace in all aspects.
He sounded the call as the provincial government led the opening salvo of the National Peace Consciousness Month celebration this September, during a simple flag-raising ceremony Monday at the Ninoy Aquino Freedom Park fronting the Capitol in Dumaguete City.
The activity, attended by provincial government elected officials, department heads and employees, some national government agencies, the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army, and civil society organizations, was also highlighted by the signing of commitment on the “peace wall”, and the releasing of white balloons.
Degamo stressed the importance of unity among officials to achieve peace in the province, adding he is “extending (my) peace to my political opponents; let us focus on how much we can deliver to the people.”
He called on the politicians to set aside partisan politics for now, even as he also sought a peaceful campaigning during the election period, and doing away with mudslinging and dirty politics.
He thanked the public and private sectors for their support and cooperation in attaining peace in the province, and described such efforts as being in “the right direction.”
Degamo said Negros Oriental was declared conflict manageable and development ready May 2014, and this is a significant accomplishment in terms of addressing the insurgency problem through non-combat approach.
People living in the countryside, especially in conflict areas, have benefitted from the efforts of attending to their basic needs, he said.
“Because the province is generally peaceful, tourists have put their trust in us and now we are Top 2 as tourist destination in Central Visayas,” Degamo said.
The province’s economy has become vibrant because peace and order has been addressed, such that investors keep on coming, he added.
Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos, OIC provincial police director, assured that the police will continue to carry out their duties and functions in keeping the peace.
“As public servants, may we continue to deliver quality services to address the people’s needs and continue to work for the aspirations of all stakeholders in the community,” Carlos added.
He urged policemen and women to perform their duties with justice and respect for human rights while upholding the rule of law.
Col. Allan Martin, commander of the 302 nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, emphasized that every day should be observed as a day of peace.
“I am hoping that we will stop celebrating the National Peace (Consciousness) Month because it is irrelevant,” he added.
He said every day is an opportunity to celebrate peace although he admitted there are still areas that are facing conflict.
He cited the need for collaboration, and stressed that all must act together to attain peace.*JFP