CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Officials of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) are optimistic that the goal to attain lasting peace and inclusive development under Executive Order No. 70 will come into fruition given that various positive indicators are present.
The NTF-ELCAC and its Region 10 counterpart convened for a joint meeting here on Friday, March 5, 2021, ahead of the visit of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, the designated Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security for Northern Mindanao (CORDS X), pointed out that the delivery of government programs in the region’s focused areas has improved.
“There are marked improvements in our communities and barangays in terms of improving access to basic services, provision of infrastructure facilities, and livelihood opportunities through the various convergence projects and interventions prioritized in conflict-affected, poverty-stricken, and geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas and sectors all over the region,” he said.
He noted that these converging efforts of government agencies resulted in the substantial reduction in the region’s poverty rate, from 32.3% in 2015 to 17.3% in 2018.
Secretary Andanar committed that the RTF-ELCAC 10 will continue to function to uplift the lives of those in the vulnerable sectors until the end of the President’s term in 2022.
“The pandemic has brought out the best in us — the compassion, the bayanihan spirit, generosity and sharing of resources among us. Let us sustain this and prioritize the lagging areas, and most vulnerable ones,” he said
“The work continues and must be pursued with greater commitment and passion,” he added.
Meanwhile, RTF-ELCAC 10 Technical Working Group Chairperson MGen. Andres Centino presented the accomplishments of the region. He expressed optimism that with relentless efforts, the government will be able to attain its goals.
Since the implementation of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) in 2018, P44.339 million worth of assistance has been provided to 895 former rebels. Provisions under this include immediate financial assistance, livelihood assistance, firearms remunerations, and reintegration assistance.
E-CLIP is just one of the many programs under the task group. Other lines of efforts have been created to ensure the whole-of-nation approach to end insurgency.
This has weakened the influence of the communist terrorist groups (CTGs) in many areas. To date, there are already 119 barangays across the region declared as free from their influence.
“With less than two years before President Rodrigo Duterte’s incumbency ends, time is indeed not on the side of the government forces and agencies. This, however, should not discourage us. With how we are progressing in unprecedented strides by working closely together, 535 days could be more than enough time to finally end the local communist armed conflict in our region,” he said.