The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process assured victims of alleged abuses, allegedly perpetrated by members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade, that justice will be pursued.
Representatives of the Kilusang Magbubukid sa Pilipinas and the National Federation of Sugarcane Workers, who accompanied victims of alleged RPA-ABB abuses, recently met with Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo at the OPPAP headquarters, to present results of their fact-finding mission in Sagay City and EB Magalona, Negros Occidental.
Montalbo said they will immediately study the findings of the fact-finding mission undertaken by the KMP, NFSW and its allied organizations on the atrocities allegedly perpetrated by RPA-ABB.
He, however, also urged the victims, KMP and the NFSW to file the necessary cases in court for proper action, stressing that the agency will coordinate with the Department of Justice, the Department of Agrarian Reform, and the Commission on Human Rights to help the aggrieved seek justice as soon as it receives copies of affidavits and other pertinent documents from the complainants.
The peasant groups accused the RPA-ABB of being behind the burning of houses of agrarian reform beneficiaries in Sagay City, and the abduction of three residents of Brgy. Canlusong, EB Magalona.
The RPA-ABB called the accusations a smear campaign by the New People’s Army and its allied organizations.
Montalbo assured the group that the closure of the peace process currently being pursued by the government with the RPA-ABB and its political wing, Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas, is intended to bind the rebel group to commit to peace and ensure their accountability to the rule of law.
“The government and the RPM-P/RPA/ABB peace track will need all the feedback we can get from the ground. We want to put a proper closure to this peace track," Montalbo said.
He also said that the rebel group is aware of this and has been working with the government in the profiling its members and in the inventory of firearms in preparation for disarmament.
“This closure track does not deal with nameless nor bogus members. We have done member profiling and have undergone an inventory of their firearms. We can cross-check if the alleged perpetrators of violence and other atrocities are indeed on the list of RPM-P/RPA/ABB members.” Montalbo said.
He also denied reports that the government has already released funds to the RPM-P/RPA/ABB.
While OPPAP has signed a memorandum of agreement with local government units, no release of funds has been made yet, pending the signing of a closure agreement, Montalbo said.
“The funds are intended for development projects in the communities and will be coursed through appropriate government agencies that will implement the projects,” he stressed.*GPB