ILOILO CITY – The Barangay Development Program (BDP) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) addresses the root causes of the communist insurgency.
“The BDP is basically the government going down to the grassroots level, bridging the gaps between the 'haves and the have nots', making the people feel that the government is one with them, cares for them, and is doing something concrete to alleviate their poverty,” said Associate Provincial Prosecutor Flosemer Chris I. Gonzales, spokesperson of the Western Visayas RTF –ELCAC, in a statement on Wednesday.
He said the program is the government’s way of telling people in conflict-stricken areas that they are not forgotten.
Gonzales added that defunding the BDP would make the Communist Party of the Philippines– New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) terrorists happy while depriving people in the countryside of projects that would usher progress in their communities.
“These senators who call for the defunding of the BDP must bear in mind that the CPP-NPA is bound to benefit from their proposal,” he said.
He said that their choices are clear: to work for the defunding of the BDP and make the communist terrorist group (CTG) happy, or sustain the funding and make millions of Filipinos in the countryside happy.
Of the PHP19-billion budget of the NTF-ELCAC, PHP16.5 billion is allotted for the development of 822 barangays in the country that have been cleared of insurgency.
Gonzales said the RTF6 ELCAC is supportive of the BDP, local chief executives, and communities identified as recipients of the program.
In Western Visayas, 74 villages have been identified as recipients of PHP20 million each to fund identified projects based on their needs assessment and included in their barangay development plan. (PNA)