Gov’t to hold peace talks in five CamSur towns
By Ana-Liza Macatangay
PILI, Camarines Sur --- The Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) conducted a two-day training session in solidarity with President Marcos’ peace initiatives. The focus was on enabling localized peace engagement activities in the municipalities of the 4th District of Camarines Sur.
The training, led by OPAPRU Local Conflict Transformation – Field Implementation Support Unit (LCT-FISU) Officer-in-Charge Paul E. Escober, aimed to facilitate positive engagement between government representatives and active CTGs (Communist Terrorist Groups) and their support base. The goal is to foster local dialogues addressing shared community concerns, achieving community resiliency, contributing to good governance, and tackling insurgency issues.
Caramoan, Tinambac, Presentacion, Garchitorena, and Lagonoy were identified for the implementation of local peace engagements based on the Joint AFP-PNP Intelligence Council report confirming the persistent presence of CTGs across 37 barangays in these municipalities.
The 83rd Infantry (Matikas) Battalion, 9th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, emphasized the selection of municipalities based on the persistent existence of CTGs, expressing a goal to understand their grievances for government resolution.
DILG Camarines Sur Provincial Director Julius Cal Ortiz confirmed the identification of municipalities by the security sector as areas where CTGs operate. He highlighted the government’s efforts, specifically the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP), designed for sustainable development and peace promotion in line with EO 70, the Whole of Nation approach.
The geographical structure of the 4th District, characterized by significant forested areas, increased the susceptibility of these municipalities to CTG influence.
Societal issues contributing to the resurgence of CTG activity include increasing poverty, lack of law enforcement in remote areas, weak political solidarity, land ownership awarded by CTGs, and poor access to information.
Local government officials highlighted challenges such as poor connectivity, rising poverty rates, illiteracy, and limited access to resources. The LGUs emphasized the need for collaboration and support for the government’s peace initiative.
DILG Provincial Director Ortiz appealed to all LGUs, particularly those in the 4th district, to collaborate and support the government’s peace initiative, recognizing the importance of collective efforts in eradicating longstanding issues.