QC Mayor Bautista to join Oslo peace talks

By on August 11, 2016

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista (Facebook photo).
Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista (Facebook photo)

MANILA—Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista on Thursday said he is scheduled to leave for Oslo, Norway next week to join the government peace panel’s negotiation with the Communist Party of the Philippines.

During executive staff meeting, the Mayor said “he volunteered himself to be part of the negotiating panel.”

Angeles City Mayor Ed Pamintuan, who sits as president of the League of Cities of the Philippines, will be the other local chief executive joining the government peace panel.

The Mayor also expressed interest in joining the government panel in talks with China to settle the two countries’ dispute on territorial waters.

Bautista has a master’s degree in national security administration and is pursuing doctorate studies in Political Science (International Studies and Development) at the University of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, in support of the national government’s renewed peace initiatives with armed groups, the Quezon City Peace and Order Council (QC-POC) chaired by the Mayor, has approved a resolution spelling out the guidelines and regulations for the adoption of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) for rebel returnees residing in the city.

Highlight of the CLIP guidelines calls for the provision of safety and security guarantees as well benefits and other assistance to rebels who have expressed the desire to return to the fold of the law.

The approval of the resolution was described by the Mayor as vital in the city’s effort to make Quezon City socially inclusive to all including rebel returnees.

While the National Capital Region (NCR) may not be included in the areas of prioritization, the Mayor said the implementation of the program is still necessary in case former rebels will surface in the city.

As provided under the CLIP executive order, qualified returnees shall be given an immediate financial assistance amounting to PHP15,000 and livelihood assistance of PHP50,000. They are also entitled to healing and reconciliation initiatives, skills training, shelter and legal assistance.

Also eligible to avail of the program are the spouses, partners, children, parents or siblings of former rebel returnees.

To date, the QC-POC is closely coordinating with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Philippine National Police and the Joint AFP-PNP Intelligence Committee, to ensure the effective implementation of the program aimed at bringing permanent and peaceful closure to conflicts with various armed groups.