BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Negrenses gathered here today on the day the New People’s Army marked its 52nd founding day in an event led by provincial, police, and Army officials calling for peace in the province wracked by armed conflict for decades between government forces and Maoist rebels seeking to put up a socialist state.
The “A Day for Peace” program was alao mounted on the heels of renewed fighting in the coutryside mainly concentrated in the uplands of Oriental Negros province.
Only days ago, the NPA suffered a serious blow in recent combat history when 10 of its Red fighters were killed in an armed encounter with government troopers in Guihulngan City, losses that an NPA command admitted.
A news release from the 303rd Infantry Brigade said the Prayer for Peace highlighted the unity of multi-sectors with one vision; peace and development for the people of Negros.
“The program was made possible through the effort of Negros Occidental Provincial Government, City Government of Escalante, Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade, and Philippine National Police.
Girl Scouts of the Philippines-Negros Occidental, Provincial Council for Women, Peace Net, Negros Occidental Schools Division, Association of Negros Producers Inc., Provincial Alliance of Capitol Employees, and Provincial Liga ng mga Barangay were among the sectors that took part in the said program.”
“Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio ‘Bong’ Lacson admitted that we are living in the world where the prospect of peace seems distant and obscure. Yet, Jesus promised to give us peace.”
“As we wait His promise, let us starts sowing the seeds of peace by allowing our savior to reign in our hearts as we seek to be peace makers. If we wish to be such catalyst, we must turn to God with humility and ask His spirit to give us wisdom and to make us understand so that we will come to Him with motives that are honorable and righteous,” Governor Lacson further said.
He ended his message by thanking all the participants who came and shared their peace prayers.
For his part, Colonel Michael Samson, Acting Commander, 303rd Infantry Brigade, lauded the multi-sectors for showing the true essence of harmony by sharing their peace prayers for Negrenses.
“Peace is everybody’s business. The government forces cannot make peace happen without the support and cooperation of every Filipino. We can achieve peace if we continue to do our share. And, I am glad that our multi-sectors in Negros are doing their part. With you as our partners, peace in the island is within our reach,” Col. Samson said.
The program culminated through a recessional song ‘Heal the World’ performed by Negros Occidental Singing Ambassadors.