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RPOC MEETING. The Eastern Visayas Regional Peace and Order Council convene on Tuesday (Jan. 22, 2019) in Tacloban City to tackle security concerns related the 2019 midterm elections. (Photo courtesy of the Department of the Interior and Local Government)

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Eastern Visayas Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) is in the process of selecting private sector representatives to take part in the region’s coordinating body tasked to deliberate issues and problems affecting the region’s peace and order situation.

During its meeting here Tuesday, RPOC members initially agreed to pick representatives from the women and youth sectors from conflict-stricken areas, communications group, and business sector to sit as new council members.

Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan, RPOC chairperson, said from among the identified sectors, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Army (PA) will recommend representatives for profiling.

They will go through a background investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency to ensure that they have no ties with communist rebels.

“The private sector membership in the council is very welcome to us since most members of RPOC are regional directors of government agencies. They will give a perspective of private individuals directly affected by government policies and conflicts,” Tan told reporters.

Under Executive Order No. 773 issued in 2009, the RPOC chairman is directed to appoint at least three representatives of the private sector, upon consultation with council members and upon acquiring appropriate security clearances.

The Eastern Visayas council, which has 40 members, is composed of the region’s provincial governors, mayors of the highly urbanized cities, the presidents of mayors’ leagues, and regional heads of government agencies.

These agencies are the departments of foreign affairs, national defense, justice, agriculture, agrarian reform, public works and highways, social welfare and development, health, trade and industry, transportation, education, and environment and natural resources, Dangerous Drugs Board and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

Also included are the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Presidential Management Staff, Philippine Information Agency, Presidential Anti-Graft Commission, Armed Forces of the Philippines, PNP, and National Bureau of Investigation. The Department of the Interior and Local Government serves as the council's secretariat.

The RPOC is tasked to provide forum for dialogue and deliberation of issues and problems affecting the peace and order; recommend measures that will improve or enhance peace and order and public safety; recommend measures to converge and orchestrate internal security operational operations efforts of civil authorities; recommend sanctions against local government officials who are giving material and political support to the communist rebels; and monitor the provision of livelihood and infrastructure development projects in rural and indigenous population areas. (PNA)

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