BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Good news for insurgency-cleared barangays!
The Department of Budget and Management has allocated P520 million in development funds for 26 insurgency-cleared barangays in Negros Occidental.
The DBM, through a local budget circular, dated Jan. 20 this year, has issued the guidelines on the release and utilization of the Local Government Support Fund – Support to Barangay Development Program (LGSF-SBDP) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), in the 2021 General Appropriations Act.
Each of the 26 insurgency-cleared barangays is entitled to receive P20 million worth of projects, such as farm-to-market roads, school buildings, water and sanitation system, health stations, rural electrification, reconstruction, rehabilitation, repair, and other similar projects, in connection with the occurrence of natural or human-induced calamities, epidemics, crises resulting from armed conflicts, insurgency, terrorism, and other catastrophes, housing, Covid-19 vaccination, immunization, and other health related projects, and agricultural, livelihood and technical vocational trainings/ projects, the DBM circular states.
The recipient barangays are Alimango, Binagyuhan, Buenavista, Dian-ay, Japitan, Langub, Libertad, Mabini, Malasibog, Paitan, Pinapugasan, Rizal, Udtungan, and Washington in Escalante City, Canlusong in EB Magalona, Gawahon and Estado in Victorias City, Caduha-an in Cadiz City, Banago in Bacolod City, Carabalan in Himamaylan City, San Pablo in Manapla, and Bulwangan, Codcod, Guadalope, Quezon, and Nataban in San Carlos City.
Maj. Cenon Pancito, 3rd Infantry Division spokesman, said yesterday that the Barangay Development Program is the government’s flagship program to end local armed communist conflict by addressing the root causes of insurgency.
Pancito said that, aside from Negros Occidental, 48 other barangays in Region 6 will also receive P20 million in BDP assistance each, for a total of P960 million.
He added that the BDP is an offshoot of the efforts of the 3ID Community Support Program Teams to clear the grassroots of CPP-NPA presence, threats and infiltration, through multi-sectoral consultations on communities in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas. The selection of barangay recipients and their corresponding programs and projects had undergone stringent vetting from national agencies, he said.
The 26 Negros Occidental barangays were among the 822 declared insurgency-free nationwide, from 2016 to 2019.
The barangay development funds have already been made available by the DBM and Pancito said this is a manifestation that the government is true to its promise of alleviating the life of every Filipino, even those in the remotest barangays.
The funds will be coursed through concerned local government units, and Pancito said the 3ID will ensure that the projects shall be the high impact ones, indentified on issues and concerns raised.
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered that the LGSF-SBDP shall be released to the provincial governments where the identified barangays are situated. In case a provincial government is technically incapable of implementing the projects, the DBM circular said the projects may be undertaken by an appropriate national government agency, including, but not limited to, the AFP Engineering Brigade.*