Anti-insurgency drive gains support from local council newbies

MANILA -- The government sees a positive reinforcing role for neophyte local chief executives in the national government's efforts to wipe out local communist armed conflict.

Speaking during the Usapang Pangkapayapaan, Usapang Pangkaunlaran Pilipinas Program of the Philippine Air Force, Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr. said newly-elected Local Government Unit (LGU) officials extended very robust cooperation to the national government's whole-of-nation approach to eliminate local communist threats.

"Very positive dun sa mga newly voted (officials), bata pa sila, walang takot na nagsasalita at nakikita na very positive yung signs (The support from newly-voted officials is very positive. They are young and fearless in speaking their mind and see the positive signs about government's efforts) and very enthusiastic about Executive Order 70," Florece said.

EO 70 institutionalized the whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace and created a national task force to end local communist armed conflict.

Florece underscored that former New People's Army (NPA) rebels who opt to return to the folds of law are entitled to a number of benefits in terms of funds and training to jumpstart their family's reintegration into society, which include basic vocational education from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

"We evaluate where they would want to settle. We see some interested in the mechanical training courses of the TESDA," Florece said.

The official underscored that local executives also see the need to complement the effort to eliminate local insurgent efforts by working to wipe out the usual sources of resentment to the government such as those arising from red tape.

"We also underscore the need to emphasize comprehensive whole-of-nation approach to eliminate red tape and to promote the ease of doing business (with the government)," Florece added.

Philippine Air Force Col. Gerardo M. Zamudio Jr., assistant chief of Air Staff for Civil Military Operations, for his part, said they are likewise conducting numerous community-based civic programs in such areas as Batangas province to assist the government in promoting its efforts to stop the recruitment of young students for the Communist Party of the Philippines New People's Army (CPP-NPA).

"The government's whole-of-nation approach addresses the root causes of insurgencies, internal disturbances and tensions, and other armed conflicts and threats by prioritizing and harmonizing the delivery of basic services and social development packages by the government, facilitating societal inclusivity, and ensuring active participation of all sectors of the society in the pursuit of the country's peace agenda," he said.

EO 70 amplifies EO 16 adopting the National Security Policy 2017-2022, which calls for the end of all armed threats in the Philippines and recognizes that internal socio-political stability rests and calls on promoting participatory governance, a synergy of government development efforts and enhanced participation and responsibilities of LGUs.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency