MANILA – The municipality of Remedios T. Romualdez (RTR) in Agusan del Norte is hoping that the infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program will help ease the presence of armed conflict in some of its beneficiary villages.
In a Network Briefing News interview on Tuesday, Mayor Richard Daquipil said the projects helped them augment their resources in enhancing the town, on top of their PHP17 million development fund.
“One of our focuses here in our municipality is responding to the needs of our people. With the help of our congresswoman (Angelica Amante), President Duterte’s Build, Build, Build program was able to reach us,” he told the host, Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar.
RTR is a recipient of various road concreting projects, including the Barangay Basilisa to Barangay Panaytayon road concreting project and the Barangay Poblacion II to Barangay Panaytayon road, costing PHP50 million each.
“Sana po matapos po ito na mga proyekto in support to our armed conflict-affected barangays. Para mapigilan na din natin ang mga kaibigan natin sa kabila na pumapasok pa sa mga barangay na ito (We hope that these projects will be completed in support to our armed conflict-affected barangays so that we can deter those from the other side who enter there),” Daquipil said.
Barangays San Antonio and Tagbongabong are two of identified conflict-affected barangays in RTR, beneficiaries of PHP20 million worth of development projects under the Support to Barangay Development Program (SBDP).
SBDP is the flagship program of the Duterte administration for poverty alleviation and development under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
To end local insurgency, RTR partnered with the Philippine National Police and the 65th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army to raise awareness among the youth on the manipulative strategies of armed groups.
“Hangad namin na maiwas sa recruitment ang mga kabataan namin kasi sa tingin ko sila ay prone sa ganitong recruitment ng mga nasa kabila (It is our goal to help prevent the recruitment of our youth here because I believe that they are vulnerable to the recruitment of those rebels),” the mayor said.
He likewise urged his constituents to continue supporting the initiatives of the government.
“Suportahin lang natin ang gobyerno. Huwag na tayong sumuporta sa kabila para makamit natin 'yung peace. Kung nandyan ang peace, nandyan ‘yung progress sa ating lugar (Let us support the government and not the other side so that we will be able to achieve peace. Because if there’s peace, there’s also development in our place),” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 70 in December 2018, creating the NTF-ELCAC that employs a whole-of-nation approach to end communism and institute peace-building initiatives. (PR)