BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo urged the people not to vote for politicians opposing the Support to the Barangay Development Program of the National Task Force to End Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which implements developmental projects in the New People’s Army-cleared barangays.
If there are politicians who wants to destroy these programs for peace and development, we should show to them our dismay, by not voting them in the next year elections, Degamo, who is the Provincial Task Force- ELCAC chairperson of Negros Oriental, said in his issued statement.
What they sow is what they reap, the PTF-ELCAC chairperson said.
Sixteen rebel-cleared barangays in Negros Oriental and 26 others in Negros Occidental, 14 of them in Escalante City, are beneficiaries of NTF-ELCAC projects.
Each of the beneficiaries were entitled to receive P20 million for the delivery of development package which includes the building of farm-to-market roads, health stations, classrooms, water and sanitation systems, rural electrification, and livelihood projects.
Brgy. Chairman Richard Pios of Paitan in Escalante City, thanked the ELCAC for the farm tractor they received through SBDP of TF-ELCAC, including the farm to market road concreting project.
The SBDP is a hallmark program of the NTF-ELCAC with the end goal of bringing development to former conflict-prone communities.
P28.1B BUDGET APPEALED
In a statement, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) have both appealed to the Senate to restore the P28.1 billion Barangay Development Program for NPA -cleared barangays proposed by the NTF-ELCAC in the 2022 budget.
“The Support to the Barangay Development Program (SBDP) is a game-changer in our battle to end communist terrorism in the country”, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said
Año said there is now momentum in the fight against communist terrorism and slashing the P28.1 billion will send a wrong signal to the Local Government Units who have been expecting these development projects next year.
“We must remember that the battle against the CTGs (communist terrorist groups) is not just a battle of arms, it’s also a battle for the hearts and minds of our people,” he said.
This was echoed by the LLP in its 8th General Assembly passed Resolution No. 2021-009, supporting President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s anti-insurgency program and urging the Senate to approve in full the proposed SBDP in the 2022 General Appropriations Bill.
“The full and continued implementation of the BDP needs to be pursued in order to bring about and sustain progress and development in these identified conflict-affected barangays that urgently need government support and assistance,” LPP President and Marinduque Governor Presbiterio Velasco Jr. said.
Año said the proposed projects under the SBDP that were identified by the community residents themselves, “represent their collective aspiration towards genuine peace and development.”
He said cutting the proposed NTF-ELCAC budget next year will deprive these remote barangays of development and will make them vulnerable once more to the communist terrorist groups, at a time when we have already gained significant strides in our whole-of-nation approach to defeat communist terrorism.*