Samar govs push peace, development

CATBALOGAN CITY — The governors of the three Samar Island provinces convened in a forum on Wednesday here to push for a common peace and development agenda for the entire island.

The Samar Island Peace and Development Partners Forum, hosted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government Samar provincial office, was led by Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan, Northern Samar Governor Edwin Ongchuan and Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone, with regional directors of different government agencies and private stakeholders attending.

“We are also hoping that Samar will be noticed, and Samar will also be considered as one of the most developing areas under the new administration,” Tan said.

The forum revisited the island’s Peace and Prosperity Roadmap that was adopted by the governors in 2017, identified the actions that were taken as well as the challenges, and updated the roadmap.

Ongchuan said the 2017 roadmap resulted in building gains of the peace process in Northern Samar which complemented its poverty reduction efforts and cited the considerable reduction of poverty incidence in the province from 51.5 percent in 2015 to 23.1 percent in 2021.

The Northern Samar governor added that the continuous clearing of conflict-affected communities resulted to an enabling environment for peace and development, saying that the Retooled Community Support Program of the Northern Samar Provincial Task Force ELCAC reduced by 79 percent decrease in the number of communist-affected barangays from 2020 to 2022.

The governor pushed for the construction of more roads in Las Navas, Northern Samar in the coming years.

Eastern Samar Governor Evardone, on the other hand, boasted of the provincial government’s “Isang Propesiyunal, Isang Pamilya’’ program which supports families in remote communities to produce a college graduate.

“If these families from remote communities are able to produce graduates and hopefully these graduates find employment, this will certainly help them improve their economic status and in the long term help their communities enjoy peace and security,” Evardone said.

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