Northern Samar calls for NTF-ELCAC’s sustained efforts

FUNDING DEV'T PROGRAMS. Northern Samar Governor Edwin Ongchuan in this undated photo. Ongchuan on Friday (Nov. 19, 2021) called for a continued anti-insurgency drive through the development programs under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.(Photo courtesy of Northern Samar provincial government)

TACLOBAN CITY – Northern Samar’s provincial government has urged the central government to sustain the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) amid calls to abolish the anti-insurgency body and cut its budget.

Governor Edwin Ongchuan said on Friday the peace initiatives are badly needed in communities vulnerable to the influence of the New People’s Army (NPA).

“The objective of the program is noteworthy and equally deserves the allocation of our national resources. I am one with the rest of the country in investing for resiliency and sustainability by helping our communities cope against the many challenges to peace and development,” Ongchuan added.

As part of NTF-ELCAC project, the province recently kicked off development projects in six communities previously infiltrated by the NPA.

The national government earmarked PHP120 million, or PHP20 million for each village under the Barangay Development Program (BDP), a hallmark program of the NTF-ELCAC to bring progress to former conflict-prone communities.

The recipient Northern Samar communities are Hitapian, Osang and Nagoocan in Catubig town; San Miguel in Las Navas; Quezon in Catarman; and Calantiao in Bobon.

The projects consist of PHP31.93-million farm-to-market roads, PHP17.49-million water and sanitation systems, PHP18.5-million health stations, PHP24.8-million school buildings, PHP11-million electrification, PHP10.05-million assistance to poor families, and PHP6.22-million agricultural and livelihood training assistance.

The funds have been released by the Department of Budget and Management to recipient local governments upon completion of required documentation.

The provincial government expects more communities to be included in the BDP next year.

However, the Senate has just approved a PHP4 billion budget out of the PHP28.12 billion proposed budget for the NTF-ELCAC in 2022.

A total of 1,406 villages nationwide are expected to benefit from the BDP next year. They are set to receive PHP20 million each to fund their anti-insurgency projects.

The NTF-ELCAC, created under Executive Order 70 issued on Dec. 4, 2018, is tasked to “provide an efficient mechanism and structure for the implementation of the whole-of-nation approach to aid in the realization of collective aspirations for inclusive and sustainable peace.” (PNA)

Source: Business Diary Philippines

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