ZAMBOANGA CITY — Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo has agreed to a proposal to make the Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) in Western Mindanao as among the stakeholders in the ongoing peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The proposal was presented by RDC Chair and Dipolog City Mayor Evelyn Uy during the maiden meeting of the RPOC Wednesday afternoon with Mayor Celso Lobregat as the newly-appointed chairperson.
Robredo said while it is the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) that has the final say on the issue, he will fully support the idea that the involvement of the two Councils should be included among those to be consulted in the succeeding negotiation.
The Secretary said he was in the GRP-MILF peace panel meeting in Malaysia recently wherein both parties have agreed that there will be next steps that will involve local officials not only the RDC and the RPOC.
"Hopefully, we will be able to work with OPAPP on this, as much as there will be security implications in so far as Zamboanga Peninsula is concerned once this agreement is finalized,” the DILG chief said, hoping also that enough consultations shall have been done before the agreement is finalized to prevent the mistakes of the past.
Mayor Lobregat lamented that until today, Zamboanga City and other parts of the region have not been consulted by the GRP panel on the peace process despite the promise of GRP panel chief Atty. Marvic Leonen to come back and consult with the residents.
“Up to this time we have not been consulted”, the new RPOC-9 chief declared. He said the RDCs and RPOCs of other regions in Mindanao should also be involved in the peace negotiations as all regions in the island will be affected by whatever agreement will be reached by the two panels.
Robredo, who chairs the National Peace and Order Council, was in the city to administer the oath of Mayor Lobregat as new RPOC-9 chief and to convene dialogue with the RPOC members.
Various other issues that included piracy, illegal fishing and mining were also brought to the attention of the secretary during a dialogue or interfacing.
During the meeting proper, the Police Regional Office presented updates on the peace and order situation and public safety in Western Mindanao while the Western Mindanao Command presented updates on the anti-insurgency and anti-terrorism campaign.
Resolutions were approved during the meeting including the request for the DILG to allocate patrol boats for the Maritime Police and to augment and institutionalize the fuel allocation for watercrafts and to allocate patrol cars for the different municipalities and cities in the region.
The RPOC also accepted the joint letter of Mayor Uy and Dapitan City Mayor Dominador Jalosjos unanimously choosing Pagadian City Mayor Samuel Co as the representative of the component city mayors in the RPOC-9. (PNA)