By Maria Teresa B. Benas
BANGUED, Abra,Dec. 3 (PIA) — As every Abreño dreams of living in peace and order in this once peaceful province, more than 50 women leaders in Abra gathered together and signed a manifesto last week calling the attention of the national government to revoke laws that they believe have contributed to the proliferation of arms and gun violence in the country.
In a forum organized by the Concerned Citizens of Abra for Good Government, a leading cause-oriented organization in the province, the women-leaders came up with a statement calling the attention of national leadership to revoke Executive Order No. 194 authorizing the possession and licensing of firearms of any type and/or caliber and in unlimited quantity as well as Executive Order No. 456 which allows local officials to deploy the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGUs) and Civilian Volunteers Organizations (CVOs) as auxiliary bodies for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to fight insurgents.
Paz Ayunon-Bumogas of the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples’ Cordillera Highland Agriculture Resources Management Programme served as the main facilitator.
The presentations of Dr. Jasmin Galace, Associate Director of the Center for Peace Education of the Mirriam College in Quezon City on the Arms Situationer in the Philippines and the Women’s Involvement in Arms Control, and reaffirmed by the report of PInsp. Loewee Lou Dausen, the provincial women’s desk officer of the Abra Police Provincial Office on the arms situationer in the province, guided the Abreñan women leaders in their realization of their vital role in the local initiatives of working for peace and development in the province.
The discussions of Karen Tañada, executive director of Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute of the Ateneo de Manila University on the Philippine Action Plan and the importance of women’s participation in peace initiatives and arms control had likewise enlightened the participants of their contribution to peace building not only in Abra but in the country as a whole.
Acknowledging that the women of Abra have directly and indirectly experienced gun-related violence, they also committed to help push the realization of their demand. (JDP/MTBB-PIA CAR, Abra)