NTF-ELCAC invites CHR to be apprised of its accomplishments

By Priam Nepomuceno

February 14, 2024, 12:23 pm

MANILA – The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) said it is "laser-focused" on its mandate to end more than 50 years of existence of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), which has been terrorizing communities.

In a statement on Tuesday night, NTF-ELCAC executive director, Undersecretary Ernesto Torres Jr. also expressed a desire to apprise the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of its five-year accomplishments.

This is in response to the CHR's call for the NTF-ELCAC to review and assess its mandate.

The NTF-ELCAC chief also extended an invitation to the CHR to come and participate in the presentation of their evaluation process, transparency, and openness to scrutiny.

Torres said they are most willing to provide all the information that the CHR would want to know regarding the task force’s implementation of its mandated tasks.

Torres earlier said the NTF-ELCAC conducted a nationwide assessment and evaluation process of its mandated tasks with all its clusters and regional-provincial-city/municipal task forces.

He said part of this process is an evolution occurring for the task force, for example, in the context of “halfway houses” to “peace centers”, which are facilities aimed at supporting former rebels through their de-radicalization process, skills, and livelihood training, and to prepare them for their eventual reintegration back to mainstream society.

In addition, peace centers shall also serve as facilities for processing would-be beneficiaries of the amnesty program of the government.

This implies a shift towards a broader and more inclusive approach to promoting peace and development in all the affected but already cleared or liberated from the claws of communist insurgency, he added.

Torres also highlighted the task force’s successes in dismantling 78 active guerilla fronts over a relatively short period of time, reducing their strength to just a fraction of their previous number.

He said they are confident that the remaining 11 weakened NPA guerilla fronts will be dismantled this year and only then the Task Force will transition into a National Task Force for Unity, Peace, and Development (NTF-UPD). (PNA)