Bukidnon to tap businessmen in local peace initiative

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/11 May) – Gov. Alex Calingasan said the provincial government of Bukidnon will tap the big companies operating in the province in its effort to raise funds for livelihood projects to be offered in areas where there is strong support for the insurgency movement.

Calingasan told reporters Wednesday he will convene representatives from big business entities in the province to convince them to put up livelihood capital for the province’s local peace initiatives.

He said the provincial government will encourage them to support the peace effort by flowing in some of their corporate social responsibility funds to areas to be identified by a group of stakeholders.

He said initially they will raise funds for pilot areas, including two barangays where the Diocese of Malaybalay’s Indigenous Peoples Apostolate already has projects.

He said he met this week with Fr. Albert Alejo, of the of the Government’s Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms (RWC-SER ) of the peace process with the National Democratic Front, along with Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma and Malaybalay Bishop Jose Cabantan.

Calingasan said he is not against the peace process, but he is yet to see the sincerity of the Left in talking peace with the government.

He cited the recent attack of the New People’s Army on the police station in Malitbog town even after Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. convened a consultation among stakeholders on the peace process.

He also recognized that the government has been accused to be insincere.

Zubiri told MindaNews he got discouraged but remained supportive of the peace process. He said the two parties must already sign a ceasefire agreement to take out one major obstacle in the talks.

Calingasan said while there seems to be lack of sincerity on both sides, the provincial government will initiate its own peace efforts, specifically on livelihood projects to cut support to the insurgency. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)