Zambo City execs meet OPAPP on Zambo peace consultation


Zambo City execs meet OPAPP on Zambo peace consultation

Zamboanga City (19 January) -- The city government led by Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday conferred with Secretary Anabelle Abaya of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to discuss plans for the conduct of consultations related to the renewed peace talks in Zamboanga in the next few weeks.

The meeting, held at the OPAPP in Malacanang yesterday morning, was a result of Mayor Lobregat's strong opposition to the supposed consultation conducted by the government peace panel in Zamboanga Dec. 15-16, due to lack of preparations and sufficient notice to participants.

Because of discrepancies in the supposed Zamboanga consultation, Lobregat wrote Undersecretary Austere Panadero of the Department of Interior and Local Government formally expressing dismay over the manner the activity was proposed to be conducted. The letter was copy furnished to Sec. Abaya, GRP panel chair Ambassador Rafael Seguis and then panel member Adel Antonino.

"Considering the importance of this "consultation" on the peace process, it is quite a surprise that the coordination of this activity was made on a very short notice, taking into consideration that activities related to the yuletide season are hectic. As a matter of fact, the undersigned had long made prior commitments of equal importance in Manila on Dec. 15-16, 2009", the mayor said in his protest letter

Sec. Abaya shared Lobregat's concern and in a letter sent to the chief executive through electronic mail, the Palace official expressed regrets over the failure of the Dec. 15-16 activity in Zamboanga and assured the conduct of a meaningful and credible consultation concerning the peace process in the city this month.

In her letter, the secretary said she will be pleased to provide OPAPP's resources in conducting the consultation that Lobregat intends to sponsor here.

According to Lobregat, the proposed consultation will not only involve local government officials but other stakeholders and the multi-sectoral groups in Zamboanga and the neighboring cities, provinces and municipalities.

The meeting yesterday was purposely to finalize the design of the consultation, list of participants and other requirements. The proposed consultation will be held at the City Coliseum in Tetuan.

"I read with much sadness your letter informing me that the consultations organized by the GRP panel did not turn out as you would have wished, due to lack of preparations and sufficient notice to participants. I appreciate your concern for proper consultation, as the OPAPP shares your view on the significance of such an undertaking. I have taken Adel Antonino as a special consultant for this effort, and I would like to work with you", Sec. Abaya's e-mailed letter read.

Lobregat has emphasized that "true, genuine and meaningful public consultations not only with local government officials with all stakeholders and sectors of the society are crucial foundations for any peace process".

Because of the Zamboanga consultation and other negative observations, panel member Antonino has resigned from the GRP panel. Lobregat considered Antonino's resignation as an attestation of his protest to the supposed consultation in the city. (CIO/PIA ZC) - - Austere Panadero

Boracay, Aklan