THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has joined the church in condemning the New People’s Army (NPA) for attacking a road project in Samar.
According to Secretary Eduardo Año, the unreasonable violent action was counterproductive and against the objective of leading the country to genuine progress and lasting peace.
“If you (NPAs) are really fighting for a better Philippines, spare this infrastructure projects since its completion will benefit your fellow Filipinos immensely,” the DILG chief said.
Last May 21, soldiers deployed to secure the construction equipment of the Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project were attacked by the communist terrorist group resulting to three casualties, one from the 63rd Infantry Battalion and two from the rebel side.
Bishop Crispin Vasquez of the Catholic Diocese of Borongan, one of the leaders of the Samar Island Partnership for Peace Development, a church-led organization, asked the NPA to cease violent attacks on the billion-peso project.
Año said that if the NPA truly envisions a peaceful Philippines, it will stop these senseless attacks that are taking lives and instead start engaging in peace talks at the local level.
“We are advocating for localized peace talks, which has been proven to be effective. The government is willing to sit down with local NPA guerrilla fronts and come up with a better option than killing each other in the mountains,” he added.
The long-awaited Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project is needed to develop the provinces of Northern and Eastern Samar.
Año said the DILG supports the plea of the church for the NPA to halt attacks on the project.
“Pare-parehas tayong hindi uunlad at hihilahin natin ang bansa pababa. These attacks have to stop especially the ones that affect the construction of vital infrastructure projects,” the DILG chief said,
The DILG Secretary also urged LGUs to push for the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) that assists former rebels (FRs) who have surrendered to the government.