Catbalogan Samar– The Provincial Government of Northern Samar and the 8th Infantry (Stromtroopers) Division, Philippine Army through the 803rdInfantry (Peacemaker) Brigade spearheaded the Joint Declaration of Northern Samar as Peace and Development Ready Province (PDRP) on December 4, 2014 at the Farmer’s Training Center, University of Eastern Visayas campus, Catarman, Northern Samar.
The declaration of Northern Samar as PDRP is the latest milestone in the successful implementation of the peace and development efforts in the Eastern Visayas region. The activity was well-attended by key stakeholders for the peace effort which includes: Hon Jose L. Ong Jr., Governor of Northern Samar; Most Rev Emmanuel C. Trance, Bishop Archdiocese of Catarman; Lt Gen Nicanor M. Vivar, Commander of Central Command AFP; Maj Gen Jet B. Velarmino, Commander 8th Infantry Division PA; Hon Gary M. Lavin, Vice Governor of Northern Samar; Col Heminigildo C. Aquino, Commander 803 Infantry Brigade; Ms Imelda C. Bonifacio, OPAPP Area Manager, and P/SSupt Daniel C. Mayoni, the PNP Provincial Director of Northern Samar. Likewise, the activity was graced by the different chief executives of Northern Samar municipalities, heads and representatives of the different local government agencies and sectors of the society.
Hon. Jun L. Ong Jr, Northern Samar Governor expressed his gratitude to the joint efforts of all stakeholders in making Northern Samar as Peace and Development Ready Province. He further added that the successful declaration of Northern Samar as PDRP is also a manifestation of the Northern Samarnon’s desire for peace and development.
It can be gleaned that the high presence of insurgents during the past decades caused general fear to the populace and disrupted the normal government processes and activities in Northern Samar. There was also widespread incidence of extortion due to limited capacity and capability of government instrumentalities to enforce their mandate, compounded with the community’s lack of vigilance and/ or fear from reprisals of this threat group.
Through several years of combined efforts of the Armed Forces of Philippines, the Northern Samar Police Provincial Office and the Provincial Government of Northern Samar to combat insurgency problems in the province, the province has gained positive results taking into account the fact that no immense armed offensives by the enemy of the state occurred for the past years. The threats posed by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CNN) in the past have been successfully addressed, thus, threats to stability, peace and order have been reduced, paving the way for development projects to eventually succeed.
Further, the uninterrupted economic development activities spearheaded by the Provincial Government of Northern Samar, successfully addressed the poverty-induced insurgency through multi-sectoral and peace and development projects. This was coupled by PAMANA interventions in Northern Samar, which focused on making government felt through delivery of social services and creation of economic opportunities. The increased social participation among our stakeholders have greatly increased, resulting in increased productivity, social cohesiveness among the different sectors in the community and regained the trust and confidence of the people in the government.
Maj Gen Velarmino, Commander of the 8ID during his remarks, “Without peace and order, prosperity will never be possible. We have been advocating that it is only through peaceful means and not armed struggle, that we can achieve sustainable growth development in this province. We as your army here in the Eastern Visayas Region are very grateful that our efforts were supported and recognized by the local populace, otherwise this success would not have been achieved.”
Press Release by 8ID, PA