MATANAO, Davao del Sur – The mayor of this town said the creation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) would be President Rodrigo Duterte’s strongest legacy.
In an interview on Tuesday, Mayor Vincent Fernandez said the program has a huge impact on his municipality in terms of peace and order.
“Since we are promoting this municipality as a tourism destination, peace and order should be a primary concern. Through this program, we are now insurgency-free,” Fernandez said.
NTF-ELCAC, a task force organized by the government to respond to and raise awareness of the communist insurgency in the countryside, was created through Executive Order 70 signed by President Duterte in 2018 institutionalizing the whole-of-nation approach to address the local communist armed conflict.
Fernandez said Matanao’s 33 barangays are all cleared from the presence of the New People’s Army (NPA), with nine villages having been recipients of the NTF-ELCAC’s Barangay Development Program (BDP).
A hallmark program of the NTF-ELCAC with the end goal of bringing development to former conflict-prone communities, the BDP forms part of the government’s whole-of-nation approach to fighting the communist insurgency.
This year, the BDP targeted the rehabilitation and development of more than 1,000 Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas formerly established, influenced by the Communist Party of the Philippines–NPA–National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
“I am happy with the efforts of the President. I hope that it will be institutionalized. The BDP projects are very useful to the barangay beneficiaries,” Fernandez said.
He said nine barangay beneficiaries in his town received PHP20 million each for various projects that included water systems, school facilities, health centers, electrification, evacuation centers, and non-infrastructure projects.
Fernandez noted that before NTF-ELCAC programs were adopted in his town, no tourists would come to the municipality to explore their tourist sites because of the presence of the communist rebels.
“Now, the people are not afraid anymore. They are working hand in hand with the military and police,” Fernandez said.
He also pointed out that since the time their barangays were declared insurgency free, they can easily access the communities and deliver the government services straight to them. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency