The closure pact, which is set to be signed within the first quarter of 2012, will mark the transformation of the RPMP-RPA-ABB from an armed group into a socio-political organization.
As 2011 came to a close, OPAPP officials met with key local government officials, the military and civil society groups in Negros and Panay islands to discuss prospects for convergence as the closure pact draft nears completion.
In November, OPAPP Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles met with some of the municipal chief executives of Negros Occidental to personally brief them on the status of the RPMP-RPA-ABB peace track.
She underscored the importance of putting a closure to the decade-old peace pact with the group. “It’s time that the RPMP-RPA-ABB fully reintegrate themselves into mainstream society as citizens contributing to enhance the peace and development conditions in their communities. With the signing of the closure pact, they will no longer be called an armed group, but a legally-recognized organization.”
OPAPP Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo also mentioned convergence as a strategy during a planning workshop with officials of Negros Island held January 12 in this city. "Engagement of the local governments is key in ensuring smooth implementation of the envisioned closure pact," he said.
Montalbo has met with regional line agencies, representatives from the business sector, military officers, the Peace Advocates of Negros (PAN), and other civil society leaders.
OPAPP Director Alexander Umpar of OPAPP’s Peace Accord Monitoring Secretariat has also been consulting with key leaders and technical staff as the secretariat prepares for the closure pact.
OPAPP is set to provide policy guidance and directions as it helps PLGUs identify projects and interventions in communities affected by armed conflict. Technical working groups composed of officials from the province, municipalities, cities and barangays have started to convene to determine gaps and needs of target communities.
Both memoranda of agreements underscore the importance of convergence. As stated in the documents, OPAPP and the respective PLGUs recognize the “imperatives of building critical partnership, collaboration, and cooperation in carrying out the PAMANA program in support of the peace process.”