Negros Oriental is awaiting the release of P60.5 million to fund proposed projects under the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan, or Pamana, program of the national government, as part of the peace agreement with the Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade-Tabara Paduano Group.
A one-day orientation of the guidelines in the management of the Pamana funds for the infrastructure component were discussed by program manager Fred Narte and Erik Barcelona of the Department of Interior and Local Government recently.
It was held at the Negros Oriental Convention Center in Dumaguete City, and participants came from local government units where the proposed projects are to be located, and Rey Mallari and Veronica Tabara, representatives of RPA-ABB-TPG, now known as the Kapatiran para sa Progresong Panlipunan.
Procedures to access the P60.5 million were discussed. DILG regional director Rene Burdeos admitted the Pamana project has sentimental value to him, being a student activist before during his student days at Silliman University with one of the leaders of the RPA-ABB, the late Arturo Tabara, whose wife, Veronica, is the leader of the TPG because Stephen Paduano is now a partylist representative of Abang Lingkod. Kapatiran Negros Oriental was represented by Reynaldo Ebon.
He said the money is now with the DILG Region 7 and he wanted to fast-track the implementation of the Pamana projects to give justice to the closure agreement of the peace process between the Philippine government and the RPA-ABB.
Initial proposals to be funded by the P60.5 million Pamana fund are the construction of roads, for livelihood projects, and a multipurpose building in Tanjay City, Amlan and Sibulan.
In 2013, about P3 million was released to Tanjay City for the construction of a water system worth P2 million, and P1 million for a satellite market in Barangay San Miguel, Tanjay, DILG provincial director Dennis Quinones said.
In his message, Gov. Roel Degamo said he is pleased to hear that conflict-affected areas in the province are given attention by the national government. He said that even as Negros Oriental has been declared as conflict manageable and ready for further development, there’s still a lot that needs to be done, especially in the areas of livelihood and employment opportunities.
He said he believes that the provision of livelihood and employment opportunities to former rebels is imperative so they will be able to integrate into the community and be transformed into productive citizens.
In Negros Oriental, at least 18 former RPA-ABB members have already taken an active part in protecting forestry and natural resources as forest rangers, Degamo said.
More than 30 former rebels have also returned to the folds of the law as a result of the provincial government’s sincerity in addressing their needs, and the conduct of bayanihan activities, to include medical missions, to win back the hearts and minds of the rebels.
The orientation was attended by Assistant Secretary Danilo Encinas of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, BGen. Ted Torralba, and Virgilio Tiongson Jr.*JG