Go supports continuing efforts of NTF-ELCAC in order to sustain long-term peace and development initiatives

Go supports continuing efforts of NTF-ELCAC in order to sustain long-term peace and development initiatives

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go remains firm on his
position in support of the National Task Force to End Local Communist
Armed Conflict, particularly its budget for fiscal year 2022, to
enable the body to continue to discharge its mandate effectively and
help restore peace in areas plagued by conflict.

His appeal comes after moves to reduce the NTF-ELCAC’s budget from PHP
28.12 billion to only PHP 4 billion. The lawmaker had previously
voiced his opposition to the cut, highlighting the need to ensure the
continued provision of humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected
populations.

“We have the longest-running communist insurgency in Asia. And in our
quest to find that elusive lasting peace in the countryside, we need
a whole-of-government approach to solve poverty and lack of education,
and to address government neglect,” said Go, who is Vice-Chair of the
Finance committee.

“Napakalaki ng papel ng NTF-ELCAC sa hangarin nating magkaroon ng
pangmatagalang kapayapaan, lalo na sa mga kapos sa buhay at nasa
malalayong komunidad sa bansa. Kung kaya’t kamakailan ay tumutol ako
sa pagtapyas ng budget nito. Hindi natin hahayaang masasayang ang mga
nasimulang programang pangkapayaan ng Administrasyong Duterte,” he
continued.

Go underscored the effectiveness of the whole-of-nation approach
employed by the Task Force in addressing the root causes of the
insurgency and attaining inclusive peace and development in the
affected areas.

He referenced the NTF-ELCAC’s Basic Services Cluster which has 190
completed and 141 ongoing housing projects for indigenous peoples in
Davao del Norte and Cagayan de Oro City, in partnership with the
National Housing Authority since 2016. It has provided for the
construction of 9,691 Last Mile Schools of the Department of Education
and seen to the closure of the Salugpungan Schools in the Davao Region
from 2019 to 2021.

Moreover, the cluster has assisted in the establishment of 8,244
Barangay Health Stations for the Department of Health and
electrification of 40 sitios by the National Electrification
Administration.

The Task Force, under its Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment
Program, has also provided 710 barangays with skills training with
1,576 interventions from such agencies as DepEd and the Technical
Education and Skills Development Authority and 194 barangays with
livelihood training with 268 interventions.

It has likewise awarded 253 Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles for
5.8 million hectares of land to 1.3 million IP Rights Holders and
51,797 Certificate of Land Ownership Awards from 2018 to 2021. In
addition, the Infrastructure Development program has constructed a
total of 25,245 kilometers of bridges and 99,070 kilometers of roads
from 2018 to 2020.

Finally, the Local Government Empowerment Program has gotten a total
of 1,715 local government units to denounce the communist terror
groups, 84% or 1,436 of which have also approved a resolution
declaring CTGs as personas non grata in their respective localities as
of July 2021.

“Imbes na bawasan, dagdagan pa dapat natin ang pondo ng NTF-ELCAC para
mas maengganyo natin ang mas maraming Pilipinong magbalik-loob sa
lipunan at mamuhay ng normal kasama ang kanilang pamilya,” continued
Go.

“Bigyan natin ng prayoridad ang suporta ng gobyerno para sa libreng
edukasyon, pangkalusugan, pabahay, trabaho at pangkabuhayan na
nakatutok sa mga lugar at mamamayan na nangangailangan dito. Kailangan
natin ng mas maayos na mga pasilidad at serbisyong tunay na may
malasakit sa kapwa,” he appealed.

On this note, the senator reminded his fellow lawmakers that the
insurgency has largely been caused by past administrations’ neglect
which has resulted in poverty and political exclusion. He plans to
help ensure the continuity of the government’s efforts to address
these issues, for the sake of future generations of Filipinos born in
these places.

“Kahit noong Mayor pa lang ng Davao City si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte,
kasa-kasama na niya ako sa pagsundo sa kabundukan ng prisoners of war
ng New People’s Army. Doon ko personal na nasaksihan na kahirapan at
kapabayaan ng gobyerno ang madalas na dahilan kung bakit nagrerebelde
ang ilan nating mga kababayan,” shared Go.

“Kung may namamatay, ang pinakakawawa dito ay ang mga inosenteng bata
na nawalan ng mga magulang at kapatid dahil sa magkaibang paniniwala.
Masakit makitang nagpapatayan ang Pilipino sa kapwa Pilipino,” he
ended.

In 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 70 which
created the NTF-ELCAC. The order also institutionalized a
whole-of-nation approach to attaining inclusive and sustainable peace
and directed the adoption of a National Peace Framework which provides
for the harmonized and synchronized delivery of services in
conflict-affected and vulnerable areas. (ai/mtvn)

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