BUTUAN CITY – Agusan del Norte Governor Dale Corvera said Thursday that senators calling to defund the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) seem to lack knowledge and experience in the government's anti-insurgency drive, especially in the countryside.
“Palibhasa hindi sila naka (they have no) experience being local chief executives in the countryside who are at the forefront of the anti-insurgency campaign, kaya puro lang bunganga walang gawa (they're all talk, no action),” Corvera said in a statement released on Thursday.
What worries Corvera about defunding the NTF ELCAC and its programs in the countryside is the backlash on the gains the government has achieved so far in the fight to end the insurgency.
“How can we end this half a century-old communist insurgency when there are some senators making it hard for the government to end this menace?” Corvera asked.
He added that defunding the NTF ELCAC will also affect the implementation of the Barangay Development Plans (BDPs) now being processed by the different local government units (LGUs).
The BDP is a hallmark program of NTF ELCAC that will facilitate development programs and projects in barangay previously affected by local communist conflicts.
Under the program, each barangay is allocated PHP20 million for the construction of roads, water systems, and other facilities that will cater to the basic needs of local residents.
The PHP16-billion BDP budget goes directly to local government units from the Department of Budget and Management.
In Agusan del Norte, the BDP will cover barangays that were previously affected by conflicts in 10 towns and one city.
“Instead of lending support to the Whole-of-Nation Approach in solving the problem, they are very quick in finding faults with the NTF-ELCAC pursuing its mandate,” Corvera said.
He instead asked the senators to introduce bills that will help end the problem of insurgency in the country.
Corvera also warned that defunding NTF ELCAC would only prolong the "suffering of the people, especially in the provinces, because of insurgency." (PNA)