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Peace and Security Summit reels off in Eastern Visayas

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
November 9, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The Local Peace and Security Summit attracted the interest of the various sectors all over Eastern Visayas, from the government sector, the non-government organizations, the academe, the indigenous people and the media.

Peace advocates trooped to the Leyte Park Resort Hotel Convention Center A for a two day assembly determined to work together to identify the peace and security concerns in the Region and to formulate a working plan that would answers the concerns.

No less than Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla and Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez were at hand to welcome the participants to the two-day gathering. Other Region 8 officials present were Northern Samar Governor Raul Daza, Congressman Paul Daza of the first district of Northern Samar and Calbayog City Mayor and Regional Development Council of Region 8 chairman Mel Senen Sarmiento.

National Security Council’s Retired General Victor Mayo was at the venue early supervising that everything is in order. Joining him, is Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Hon. Jesus Dureza, Secretary Norberto Gonzales, Cencom Commander Major General Victor Ibrado, Major Gen. Armando Cunanan, commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army and PRO 8 Regional Director Abner Cabalquinto.

Hon. Francisco Mier, Assistant Director General of the National Security Council provided the participants an overview of the Local Peace and Security Assembly.

Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento presented a comprehensive report on the role of Region 8 in a First World Philippines while Congressman Paul Daza talked about the roads to peace: Key to Samar’s Development.

In order to provide the participants a complete overview of the Region, Col. Raoul Reyes, Commanding officer of the 802nd Infantry Battalion of the 8th ID discussed the insurgency situation in Region 8 while Police Chief Superintendent Abner Cabalquinto of the Philippine National Police Regional Office 8 presented the Region’s peace and order situation.

The morning session also featured Mrs. Maria Lourdes Lagman’s, a former rebel’s point of view on returning to the mainstream of society.

The updates on the Philippine Comprehensive Peace Process was discussed by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Hon. Jesus Dureza while the Challenge of Peace to Leadership was presented by National Security Adviser Hon. Norberto B. Gonzales.

While the participants were having a workshop, Secretary Gonzales and the guests answered the questions of the local media during a three hour press conference, the longest press conference ever held in Tacloban as many of the media practitioners claimed.

The participants presented the workshop outputs early evening which shows that they really were interested in achieving peace and security in the Region.

The action plan will be presented to the President during the closing ceremonies on November 9.