DAVAO CITY – Davao de Oro Governor Jayvee Tyron L. Uy on Tuesday said defunding the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) runs the risk of interrupting our development projects and derailing the momentum that the province has already started.
“It is our humble plea to our legislators not to defund NTF-ELCAC in support of our local government units’ move to continue achieving peace through ways of peace,” Uy said in a statement.
Uy, who is also chairperson of the Regional Development Council for Southern Mindanao, said NTF-ELCAC funded development projects through its Barangay Development Program (BDP), to address the needs of former conflict-affected areas.
All projects, he said, are set to be implemented and completed by the local government units this year.
BDP, a hallmark program of NTF ELCAC with the end goal of bringing development to former conflict-prone communities, has identified 822 barangays nationwide that were former guerilla fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
Of the PHP19 billion total budget of the NTF-ELCAC, PHP16.5 billion is allotted for the development of the 822 barangays cleared of insurgency. Each recipient barangay would receive PHP20 million
2 of 11 guerilla fronts dismantled
Uy said 113 of former NPA-affected areas in the province are now free from insurgency while 862 former rebels are now successfully reintegrated into the mainstream society.
“From 11 guerilla units operating in Davao de Oro in 2016, we are now down to two weakened guerilla fronts,” he said.
He said it is unfortunate to hear our legislators’ call for the defunding of the NTF-ELCAC, whose budget for BDP has been a great help in addressing the pressing issues and problems of communities long affected by conflict.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
“Through the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP), we identified together with community-beneficiaries the needed interventions in their respective areas. What they proposed is the construction of access roads, water systems, school buildings, health centers, and livelihood programs,” Uy said
Stressing the difficult task of peacebuilding, he said the government must be transparent and accountable to achieve peace.
“Progress has to reach the farthest communities. This means that the least among us must gain access to essential services such as healthcare and education,” he added.
NTF-ELCAC, he said, since its creation in 2018, has stood for good governance that is an important key to build peace.
“Our peacebuilding strategy which is focused on improving our human development index and inclusive development in the hinterlands have achieved significant breakthroughs,” Uy said. (PNA)