Compostela Valley Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy said dialog and communication with communist rebels is the key to licking the communist insurgency.
Uy, who supports localized peace talks with the communist rebels, said this as provincial government units in the Davao region attested how undergoing a paradigm shift have helped them to effectively implement the “Whole-of-Nation Approach” in addressing the communist insurgency in their respective areas.
Uy’s province in Southern Mindanao is among areas in the country with the most number of fronts of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
“We shifted our priorities from building wars to building peace. Our main strategy involves addressing the drivers and triggers of conflict, establishing a culture of dialogue and open communication in enhancing social cohesion, and building trust [with] the people,” said Uy during a meeting with representatives from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process in this city on Wednesday (July 31).
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier signed Executive Order No. 70 which institutionalizes the Whole-of-Nation Approach wherein all agencies of government will work together in an integrated and cohesive manner in order to bring much needed services to remote, underdeveloped, conflict-affected across the country.
Under the approach, local government units and members of the community will take the lead in providing solutions to finally put an end to the decades-long communist rebellion in the country. Among these strategies are localized peace engagements wherein LGUs will be at the forefront.
“We see them [rebels] as victims — a victim of ideology. That’s why we need to convince them to go back to the government and instill [in them an] idealism for a better country,” Uy said.
United Nations Regional Coordinator Ola Almgren thanked the provincial leaders for sharing their localized initiatives in line with the Whole-of-Nation approach.
“Thank you for discussing these [localized programs] to us and helping us understand how we can be of assistance to you,” Almgren said.
Over the years, the United Nations and its various agencies have been supporting the Philippine peace process through different programs and mechanisms.
These interventions include the agency’s support to peace-building and Normalization through the UNDP; the Peace Building and Education Support for Children in Conflict Affected Mindanao Project by the United Nations Children’s Fund; and support to the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security through UN Women.
For his part, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. reaffirmed the national government’s unwavering commitment to bring sustainable development and long-lasting peace in Mindanao.
“If Mindanao gains peace, the whole Philippines will become peaceful. If Mindanao will progress, the whole Philippines will progress,” Galvez said.