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“Peace on earth and goodwill to men”, this is what we oftentimes hear during Christmas but the Regional Development Council of Eastern Visayas made it year-round.

Bringing the government closer to the people, especially to those who are living in conflict affected and conflict vulnerable areas, the Peace and Development Caravan was conceptualized.

Spearheaded the RDC VIII – Development Administration Committee Chair and DBM Regional Director Imelda C. Laceras, the 3rd RDC VIII Peace and Development Caravan was conducted last September 30, 2015 in Jipapad — the poorest, most remote and insurgency-affected town in Eastern Samar.

The RDC came with peace offering of goods and services: medicines and health services by the Department of Health and its LGU counterparts, planting materials of the Department of Agriculture and Philippine Coconut Authority, school supplies of the Department of Budget and Management, rubber sandals of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace Process, free haircut from the Philippine Army, among others.

DENR Regional Director Leonardo R. Sibbaluca and representatives of PhilFIDA, DAR, NFA, DOST, DTI, DPWH, PhilHealth, GSIS, DOLE, TESDA, DepEd, PAO, PPA, PRC, DILG, PNP, BJMP, among others were there to provide technical, professional and membership services on case to case basis.

More than 600 Jipapad constituents were present to avail of the much needed services of the government.  As expected the Medical Mission hits the topmost number of clients –- pregnant women, lactating mothers, babies, under-5 children, senior citizens and more — seeking for free medical check-up and free medicines.  Giving out of rubber slippers and school supplies at no cost to the clients comes next.  Distribution of certified seeds as planting materials for vegetable production ranks third.  This was followed by the distribution of coconut plantlets.

NEDA VIII, as the lead secretariat of the RDC VIII together with DBM, Budget Officers of the Eastern Samar, Office of the Provincial Governor of Eastern Samar, OPAPP, Police and Military Officers, were around to fully support the Caravan.

Prior to this 3rd Caravan, the same was also conducted at Las Navas, Northern Samar and Brgy. Lawaan, Paranas, Samar last September 1 and July 29, respectively.

Specific objectives of the Caravan include: regain people’s trust and confidence with the government; serve as a platform for information campaign to present the government’s programs, projects and activities; showcase convergence effort among the government and non-government institutions; sustain the gains of the peace initiative of the government; and, recognize the efforts and support of the communities.  In particular, the Caravan aims to promote Peace Agenda vis-à-vis PAMANA Core Message of “SAMA-SAMA sa PAMANA: KAPAYAPAAN at KAUNLARAN ABOT KAMAY ng PAMAYANAN.”