Forty-four members of the Advisory Council on the Administration and Development of Southern Border Provinces have been selected. The advisory council is the first of its kind following the enforcement of the Southern Border Provinces Administration Act.
The selection was made on April 3, and on April 4, the Cabinet approved the appointment of the Deputy Permanent Secretary for Interior, Mr. Panu Uthairat, as the new Secretary-General of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center.
According to Mr. Panu, there are two groups in the advisory council from the five southern border provinces, namely Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala, Songkhla, and Satun. The first group consists of 40 members selected from eight fields of representatives. The second group consists of four members selected from four fields of representatives. The Cabinet will appoint five others, which will bring the number of members of the council to 49.
Born in Pattani, Mr. Panu is also the first Secretary-General of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center under the 2010 Southern Border Provinces Administration Act. The Act, which took effect on 30 December 2010, states that the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center is a special government unit under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister. Previously, the center was under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior, and the introduction of the new structure of the center was to improve the integration of work in various agencies to develop the southern border provinces and tackle problems there more effectively and in a systematic manner.
Apart from the advisory council, the Southern Border Provinces Development Strategy Committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, has also been formed to approve the strategies, projects, and budget allocations to support development in the southern border provinces. The committee consists of political office holders and permanent government officials, as well as representatives of civil society and other organizations. At the operational level, the Secretary-General of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center serves as head of this organization and works closely with various agencies, such as the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Health, and the Prime Minister’s Office.
Mr. Panu said that, since 2004 when violence erupted in the southern border provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat, and Yala, about 23,000 people have been affected by both death and injury. Out of this number 16,000 live in the three southern provinces and the remaining 7,000 are from other parts of the country.
He said that the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center would provide compensation for the families of the affected people in accordance with the Government’s criteria. The center would also arrange training for officials to provide assistance and rehabilitation to the affected people.