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Gen. Chan receives support from SIPPAD stakeholders

By EMY C. BONIFACIO, Samar News.com
June 23, 2011

CATBALOGAN CITY    The Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) on its 17th assembly held yesterday at Saint Mary's College, expressed an all-out support to MGen Mario F. Chan's vision and thrust to arrest the insurgency problem in his area of responsibility by building road infrastructures.

"I am not convinced that we can win this war by the conduct of offensive operations. Please join us in our effort to interconnect the three provinces through the construction of circumferential and radial roads which is expected to boost the economic development within the area." says Chan during his first attendance in the SIPPAD forum.

According to Chan, the roads will facilitate the easy transport of agricultural products of farmers coming from the rural areas. It would also invite more investors to come and visit the tourism potentials of Samar which, he said, is far better than those in Bohol and Cebu.

In a brief power point presentation, the 8ID Commanding General toured the SIPPAD attendees to the various areas that need immediate road construction and rehabilitation in the three provinces. Included in the presentation were actual footages of the status of roads and updates of on-going road constructions which were surveyed by the 8ID team, headed by the general himself.

Chan assured the group of positive support from the governors, congressmen, DPWH and the Department of National Defense in the pursuit of these road networks. Coordination meetings have already been facilitated. He even gladly informed about its favorable endorsement made by the Regional Development Council to the NEDA when the same proposal was presented a month ago.

In a statement of support, a parish priest from Borongan attested that projects are better accomplished, in so far as quality is concerned, when it's being undertaken by the military under its Engineering Battalions.

Chan is decisive in pursuing these road networks despite being criticized by the NDF-EV as the "road to war". This, he said, is understandable because people who have been deceived by their propaganda will now be open to the realities and opportunities of a better life outside their reins.

"These roads will hasten development and will end the lingering poverty in Samar" Chan added.

Given priority is the Gandara-Matuguinao road which he projects to be passable by September and the on-going construction of the San Jose de Buan road.

A resolution to this effect has been favorably considered by the SIPPAD assembly.

Chan was commended and was accorded a unanimous applause that signified an all-out support from the three (3) bishops and the stakeholders for the effort. Likewise, he was congratulated for making the 8ID under his leadership on top of all the other Infantry Divisions of the Philippine Army nationwide for its performance.

The commanding General expressed his commitment to make Samar as one of the country's best tourist haven in the world.

The SIPPAD is an island-wide, multi-sectoral assembly that is being held quarterly and whose deliberations focus on poverty alleviation, good governance, environment and peace and security. The Dioceses of Calbayog, Catarman and Borongan take turns in the hosting of the said forum.

During the assemblies, reports and updates on the above mentioned thematic concerns are presented.

Invited in the 17th forum were personnel from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP). They discussed programs for the rebel returnees and strategies to reintegrate these returnees to the mainstream.

The Samar Partnership for Peace and Development (SPPADE) gave an overview of the newly launched anti-corruption group, Multi-sectoral Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA-Samar); mining and quarrying issues affecting the environment and the outputs of the Tripartite Samar Development Agenda Conference.  Fr. Cesar Aculan and Ms. Emy Bonifacio shared in the presentation.

Moreover, the Northern Samar Peace and Development Forum (NSPDF) and the Eastern Samar Peace Development Forum (ESPDF) narrated the various activities that were conducted on their respective levels.

Dr. Jimmy Sanico and Mr. Agustin Docena, members of the SIBF, gave an update on the status of the Samar Island Natural Park Bill which has been pending at the House of the Representatives since the 12th congress. However, it was learned that in a Committee Hearing held last June 8, the bill was approved. Considering the long process that it still has to undergo before approval, the assembly passed a resolution to personally deliver letters to the congressmen requesting for their support. The letters will be signed by the three Bishops.

The assembly was participated by at least 70 stakeholders. Also in attendance were Most. Rev. Bishop Isabelo Abarquez of Calbayog, Most Rev. Bishop Emmanuel Trance of Catarman and Most Rev. Crispin Varquez of Borongan.

The next SIPPAD meeting, which will be accommodated by the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, is scheduled on September, this year.