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Aquino to honor Estrada admin's deal with breakaway Reds — Palace

Malacañang on Wednesday assured the public that it will release the fund for local government units that will be identified for community development and livelihood assistance in compliance with the Estrada administration’s agreement with a communist breakaway group.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Aquino administration is “committed to the negotiating tables that are pursuing a just and lasting peace."

She said the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa Pilipinas-Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB) — a breakaway from the Communist Party of the Philippines — signed an agreement with the government on Dec. 6, 2000, several weeks before an uprising ended the Estrada administration.

Valte said in that agreement, the government committed to release funds for reintegration and development to establish, operate, and support livelihood projects, housing assistance, education and training, primary health care, agriculture and irrigation facilities, farm-to-market roads, microfinance, among others.

“The funds will be released to the LGUs (local government units) in areas that will be identified for community development and livelihood assistance," she said Wednesday.

She added that the Armed Forces, through Major Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, has expressed its support for the peace process with the RPMP-RPA-ABB, as it impacts on security concerns on the ground.

Valte earlier denied that the government will be giving a P31-million grant directly to RPMP-RPA-ABB. She, however, noted that there are development projects in areas where members of breakaway communist group live.

She said the project is under PAMANA or Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) program for the development of communities and alternative livelihood.

PAMANA is the government’s peace and development program and framework that seeks to reduce poverty, improve governance and empower communities through community-driven projects that address people’s needs and, at the same time, promote peace.

It is being led by Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and joined by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Interior and Local Government, and Department of Agrarian Reform.

Valte said the government does not turnover funds to any groups but identify communities that need development and formulate programs for it. She did not mention how much assistance will be provided, but said it is the government that will manage the fund. — KBK, GMA News
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AMITA O. LEGASPI, GMA News

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