MANILA – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said a total of 2,318,892 poor individuals residing in Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, and Caraga will benefit from the Barangay Development Program (BDP) projects being implemented in these areas.
During President Rodrigo Duterte's Talk to the People aired on Wednesday, Año said that from 2016 to 2019, 822 barangays were declared by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) as free from the infestation by New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
“Ito ang mga barangay na matagal nang na-exploit ng CPP-NPA dahil sa kakulangan ng basic services at development sa kabuuan po ang makikinabang sa project na ito ay 2,318,892 na mahihirap nating kababayan na ngayon ay nabigyan ng buhay at pag-asa, at ito po ang pinakamabisang solusyon sa insurhensiya (These are barangays that have long been exploited by the CPP-NPA due to lack of basic services and development in total will benefit from this project. 2,318,892 of our poor compatriots have now been given life and hope, and this is the most effective solution to insurgency),” Año said.
He emphasized that the barangays in these regions, specifically in the Indigenous People (IP) ancestral domain areas have long been exploited by the CPP-NPA due to the lack of basic services and development.
The DILG chief also revealed that PHP16.44 billion worth of Barangay Development Program (BDP) projects were allotted to the barangays previously infested by the CPP-NPA where the national government, LGUs, and barangay officials convened to determine what development projects should be implemented in these isolated areas.
Año revealed that each concerned barangay will receive a PHP20 million allocation for their respective development projects, which are classified as infrastructure and non-infrastructure.
For infrastructure projects, Año reported that 928 farm-to-market roads amounting to P11.6 billion were constructed in 747 barangays while 157 health station projects in 150 barangays valued at PHP498,726,376 were finished.
He added that 150 school building projects worth PHP600,678,016, 518 water and sanitation system projects worth PHP2.3 billion, and 173 rural and electrification projects worth PHP491 million were completed in 157 barangays.
A total of PHP129,200,000 were spent for the reconstruction, rehabilitation, repair, and 32 other projects pertaining to natural or human-induced calamities while seven housing projects amounting to PHP22,400,000 were done in seven barangays.
Thirty other infrastructure projects like agricultural, evacuation, communication, coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19) facilities were completed at a cost of PHP78,400,000.
For non-infrastructure projects, Año reported that PHP283 million was earmarked for 177 agricultural, livelihood, technical, and personal training projects while PHP17 million was allotted for eight Covid-19 vaccination, immunization, and other health-related projects.
He added that 103 projects for assistance to indigent individuals or families were provided costing PHP119,046,019.
As of Sept. 2, Año stated that 182 projects are in the implementation stage, 782 projects are in the procurement stage and 1,319 others are in the pre-procurement stage.
DILG Undersecretary and NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Jonathan Malaya earlier said the DILG shall conduct stringent monitoring of the more than 2,000 BDP initiatives to ensure the progress of each project is adhering to the set guidelines and standard of the law.
For next year, the BDP has allotted funds for the development projects in 1,406 barangays, mostly located in Samar and Bicol provinces.
Last month, Monico Batle, NTF-ELCAC action officer on BDP said the budget intended for the BDP could not be used by the local government executives (LCEs) for the 2022 elections.
This came after Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon warned that the NTF-ELCAC’s proposed PHP40 billion budget for 2022 could be used as an “election giveaway”.
Batle said Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act has enough safeguards to protect the NTF-ELCAC funds for development projects specifically intended for the villages cleared of communist terrorist group (CTG) influence.
He also assured that the NTF-ELCAC funds will be used for the projects stipulated under the BDP.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)