TACLOBAN CITY – The three Samar provinces have started the drafting of the Samar Island Peace and Prosperity Roadmap for 2023 to 2028 in a bid to address the decades-old conflict in remote communities.

After initial agreements among the governors of Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar provinces, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) regional office here led the harmonization workshop on the roadmap.

“The workshop aimed to foster island-wide collaboration to create sustainable peace and prosperity, identify and harmonize programs to stop negative peace in Samar Island, and to identify institutional arrangements, timelines and assessment indicators to achieve positive peace,” the DILG regional office here said in a statement on Monday.

Discussions during the workshop held on Oct. 14 tackled the review of the framework on positive peace, presentation of provincial highlights and plans, presentation of geographic information system (GIS) map on insurgency and development needs, retooled community support program (RCSP), and support to the barangay development program (SBDP), identification of priority programs, institutional arrangements, and timelines and assessment indicators.

The three provincial governments sent their representatives with the list of proposed projects to the gathering.

“The plans should be responsive to the needs of the people of Samar and that good governance is the key to achieve lasting peace,” the DILG added.

In a separate statement, Northern Samar Governor Edwin Ongchuan said that upon the finalization of the Samar Island Peace and Prosperity Roadmap, the three Samar governors have agreed to lobby to the national government and its various line agencies to include funding for identified projects in the succeeding annual national budgets.

“As Samar Island is naturally rich in natural resources, similar programs on tourism promotion, environmental conservation and utility infrastructure, such as water supply systems, renewable energy sources and internet connectivity, were also included to attract more investors and provide more jobs and economic activities,” Ongchuan said.

On Aug. 17, the DILG organized a gathering where Ongchuan, Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan, and Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone signed the pledge of commitment to ensure peace and development in Samar Island. (PNA)