May 21, 2024

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Local officials and national government agencies expressed support for an organization of former rebels in the Mountain Province to help its members reintegrate into society and live a peaceful and productive life.

Officials and employees of the provincial government and national offices joined the Balik Loob Organization of Mountain Province (BLOMP) members in their Peace and Unity Walk and Talk in the capital town recently. 

The activity with the theme, “Agkaykaysa nga umaddang tapno kappia ken pagdur-asan ti probinsya magun-udan” (Nagkakaisang hakbang tungo sa tuloy-tuloy na kapayapaan at kaunlaran ng probinsiya), started with a unity walk around the town, then a program where participating agencies shared their solidarity messages.

Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity consultant, retired B/Gen. Bismark Soliba, praised the former rebels for their courage in returning to folds of the law and in organizing themselves.

He said after peace, there is reconciliation, and government support to bring unity.

Gawis ta binmaba kayu, gawis ta nin surrender kayu, et wada nan peace. If there is peace, there should be reconciliation. After that reconciliation, isunga adda dagitoy naduma duma nga agencies, adda unity,” Soliba said.

Board Member Henry Bastian, on behalf of Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr., assured the provincial government’s support to the former rebels as they start a new life.

He thanked them for withdrawing their support to the communist terrorist group, stressing now is the time for tomorrow might be too late.

As chairperson of the Provincial Board committee on peace and order, Bastian said they will craft local laws that will support the former rebels especially with their livelihood. 

Provincial Administrator Franklin Odsey emphasized  conflict and insurgency hamper economic progress. As he welcomed the BLOMP to start a new chapter of their lives, he encouraged everyone to protect, and uphold peace for sustainable development. 

Solidarity messages were also given by Police Regional Office Director B/Gen. David K. Peredo, represented by P/Col. Ruel D. Tagel of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 15, and Mountain Province Police Director Colonel Sibly P. Dawiguey.

Other highlights of the event were the distribution of food packs to the BLOMP members, and symbolic candle-lighting signifying the sincerity of the former rebels to be reintegrated and to support the government and its programs. – Valerie Jane Taguba