Davao del Norte gov welcomes Truth Commission, urges public to protect gains of peace process

February 4, 2015 5:37 am 

By Lilian C. Mellejor

DAVAO CITY, Feb. 3 (PNA) — Joining calls for the creation of a “Truth Commission” to dig deeper into the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) members in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in a "misencounter" last January 25, Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario urged the public and stakeholders not to allow what has been accomplished in the peace process to go into waste.

“Let us take hold of the situation. Take the bull by its horn so it (peace process) will not go to any direction,” del Rosario said during the Kapehan sa PIA on Monday.

Del Rosario said there may be a backlash but “I am sure the national government is doing its best to get back into the level of confidence.”

“It is up to us people of Mindanao to put back the level of confidence and push that we realize what we were trying to work for many decades,” he added. Del Rosario reminded that it is the people of Mindanao that are concerned and not of Luzon or the Visayas.

“So let us show our support and sympathize for those who suffered casualties…at the same let us not allow the process to scuttle what has been accomplished so far,” he said.

Del Rosario sees the creation of the Board of Inquiry (BOI) as a positive action from the government. However, he pointed out that the leaders must bring in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and other sectors into the investigation to determine what really happened and leave it at that and let the board worry.

Del Rosario pointed out that an investigation would end all speculations. The governor would not also directly state support to the suspension of the hearings of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), saying, “Everything is speculation and it is up to the lawmakers to decide.”

He added that it will not help if people continue to speculate. “An investigation will unearth all of this who should be blamed,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Regional Development Council (RDC) XI, chaired by del Rosario, will be holding a peace forum sometime this year.

While the peace forum was planned long before, Del Rosario said it would be timely following the incident in Maguindanao where the 44 members of the SAF were slain while on special operation to serve a warrant of arrest for Malaysian bomb expert Zulkifli Bin Hir and Abu Sayyaf Group member Basit Usman.

SAF troops encountered members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. There were also reports that some MILF members and civilians also died in the firefight.

RDC XI vice chairperson Ma. Lourdes Lim said the peace forum was intended as a multi-sectoral event where the key parties will be invited.

“We were aiming to hold the peace forum during the peace month in September. However we will assess the situation if we can mount the peace forum earlier – within the year then we’ll do so. At the top of this is the development administration committee of the RDC,” she disclosed.

Lim said peace, security and development occupy a priority in the development to increase awareness and advocate the stakeholders’ participation in the peace and development efforts. (PNA)

LAP/LCM/LDP

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