TACLOBAN CITY – In order for development to flourish, peace and order and stability is important.

Thus stressed Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary (DILG) Benhur Abalos who graced the 47th Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) meeting held in Borongan City on Friday (June 9).

Abalos was one of the invited national government official to the SIPPAD – a convergence of the three Samar Island Bishops headed by Borongan Diocese Bishop Isabelo Abarquez, Diocese of Calbayog Bishop Crispin Vasquez, and Diocese of Catarman Bishop Emmanuel Trance.

The group also include government offices like the Philippine Army, Philippine National Police, local government units, people’s organizations, and non-government organization which aims to address poverty by linking concerned agencies for provide solutions to problems in the three provinces of Samar.

Also present during the meeting were Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone, 4Ps party-list congressman and House Minority Floor leader Marcelino Libanan and Tourism regional director, Karina Rosa Tiopes.

Abalos said he was task to oversee the insurgency problem on Samar Island and needed government intervention to address this problem.

Insurgency problem continues to hunt the island particularly Northern Samar province and along its boundary to its two neighboring provinces.

To address this situation, a whole-of-the-nation approach is needed according to the DILG chief to ensure that previously affected areas which already been declared as cleared and rebel members and supporters who surrender will have no reason to return to the armed struggle.

“Wars cannot be won by guns alone, it will be won by the heart of the people,” Abalos.
Abalos added that the government should make effort in bridging the gap and address issues that greatly affect the communities, and the DILG is always ready to help the military and law enforcement agencies in their campaign for peace and prosperity.
“No tourist will come if a place is not safe. You cannot preserve the environment is there is no stability,” he said.

“If there is no peace and order, no investors will come, no tourist will come, they will avoid us,” Abalos added.