DAGUPAN CITY – Mayor Belen T. Fernandez welcomed the members of the Region 1 Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) when she led the first meeting of the council on August 27 at CSI Stadia as the new RPOC chairman.
In her opening statement, Fernandez thanked President Benigno S. Aquino III and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas for her appointment as she encouraged the council to stand with her to achieve harmony and peace in the region.
“The defining moment for us is when our RPOC communicates and acts on a shared vision for all. It is thus stated in Proverb 29:18, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ And only if we stand side by side, we achieve harmony and peace for everyone,” Fernandez said.
Also present during the meeting were PNP Region 1 acting Regional Director Police Chief Superintendent Roman A. Felix, RPOC vice-chairman; DILG Region 1 Director Dr. Julie J. Daquioag, RPOC head secretariat; and Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas.
Villegas appealed to the council to consider expanding the council’s mission into not only giving solutions to peace and order problems as he disclosed that joblessness, a child without values, destruction of nature, black sand mining in the West Philippine Sea, destruction of the forest, illegal logging " are also all peace and order problems".
“Peace and order is not just the absence of criminality. Peace and order is actually right relationships. Where there are right relationships, we don’t even have to bother about drugs and criminality because we would be treating one another with human dignity and with human respect,” Villegas said.
Villegas pledges the archdiocese’s support in the council’s pursuit for peace and order but pointed out that while he and Mayor Fernandez both believe in the separation of the State and the Church, they also believe that there should be no separation between God and man.
“We pursue peace not from the point of view of the legal, criminal justice system but in the simplest approach, a holistic approach taking into consideration that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God,” Villegas said. (Joseph C. Bacani/CIO/Aug. 28, 2014)