Monday, June 22, 2009

New name for former rebels eyed

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - “Let us call them “Kauban sa Reporma” here in Northern Mindanao, the way they are called “Kasama sa Reporma” or KR’s in Luzon.”

This is the advocacy campaign of the government to stop calling our brother surrenderees “former rebels” but call them “KR’s instead, to do away with the stigma attached to the term, explained Presidential Assistant (PA) for Northern Mindanao, Pacifico T. Pupos, Jr., during a resource-mapping workshop conducted in the city, recently, by the Office of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

“This would also corroborate the fact that the government is seriously considering the human rights of the KR’s as mandated by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who issued Administrative Order No. 172 to streamline the program and interventions that specifically cater to them and their families,” he said.

Pupos said the issuance of AO 172 is in line with the Administration’s efforts to always continue finding ways to advance its desire to create a peaceful accord with the armed groups.

As such, AO 172 mandates OPAPP to implement the necessary mechanisms for the effective and fast integration of the FR’s and their families seeking to be integrated into mainstream society by providing them with sets of interventions under the Social Integration Program (SIP).

Aimed at sustaining a genuine social and economic integration of the FR’s and their families and contribute to healing divisions in the community, the SIP hopes to create an environment that is conducive to promote peace and access to economic and social opportunities.

However, the set of interventions will only apply to all rebels who have surrendered on or after March 23, 2007, and will not cover those with pending cases in courts for committing acts which are not in pursuit of political beliefs.

Meanwhile, Pupos clarified that the SIP principles and guidelines are based on community cooperation and consultation and protection of human rights and will include components of community awareness and acceptance, among others. (Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob)

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