By Arwen Pascua
MANILA — The Philippine National Police is taking steps to strengthen peace-building efforts by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) Coordinating Committee in peace initiatives with political organizations based in Mindanao.
PNP Chief Police General Guillermo Lorenzo T Eleazar met with members of the GPH-MNLF Coordinating Committee, led by Undersecretary Arthur I. Tabaquero during a brief meeting at the PNP National Headquarters in Camp Crame.
Also present in the meeting from the GPH were Undersecretary Cesar B. Yano, Chairman of Security Subcommittee/Member; Police Brigadier General Buenaventura C. Pascual (Ret.), Chairman of Community Healing and Reconciliation Subcommittee/Member; Assistant Secretary Andres S. Aguinaldo Jr., Chairman of Socio-Economic Subcommittee/Member; Assistant Secretary Agripino G. Javier, Chairman of Confidence Building Subcommittee/Legal Adviser and Director Hana Jill G. Gallardo, Head Secretariat, GPH Coordinating Committee.
Among issues and concerns discussed in the meeting was the carrying of firearms by members of these organizations while traveling, conducting recruitment activities, and claiming territories by displaying their flags.
The PNP supports any and all government initiatives with organizations that have shown sincerity to take part in the peace process.
“As officers of the law, we have seen the ugly face of war and conflict that has caused misery and stalled development and progress in many parts of the country. By all means, let’s give peace a chance,” Eleazar said.
The Chief PNP expressed that teamwork and cooperation are key to be able to reach success and fulfillment in doing the roles and fulfilling the responsibilities of parties involved in the peace process.
“Bilang alagad ng batas ay tungkulin naming maproteksyonan at mabigyan ng tunay na seguridad ang bawat mamamayan, at sa hangarin natin maitatag ang pangmatagalang kapayapaan sa ilang lalawigan at munisipalidad sa Mindanao, alam ko na malaki ang maitutulong ng GPH-MNLF Coordinating Committee upang magawan ng ibat ibang pamamaraan, programa at proyekto kung paano natin mapapanatili ang kaayusan at katahimikan sa Mindanao”, Eleazar said.
“While the government’s ultimate aim is to win the peace, the goal for the short to medium term shall be to bring all armed conflicts to a permanent and peaceful closure”, he added.
The GPH-MNLF Coordinating Committee was created in 2019 which serves as a venue to seek the cooperation of the MNLF to achieve immediate peace in Sulu by, among others, helping in combatting the Abu Sayyaf Group and convincing MNLF relatives to return to the folds of the law. (ai/mtvn)