Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar has expressed confidence that President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration will “win the game” in addressing the decades-long communism in the country.
During the 4th quarterly meeting of the Northern Mindanao Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) in Misamis Oriental on Friday, Andanar said the Duterte government has made significant strides since the signing of Executive Order (EO) 70 that institutionalizes the whole-of-nation approach to attain “inclusive and sustainable peace” nationwide.
EO 70, signed by Duterte on Dec. 4, 2018, creates the National Task Force (NTF) ELCAC and directs local peace bodies to hold negotiations with communist rebels in their respective areas.
“We have come a long way since the issuance of EO 70 in December of last year. We continue to work together on how best this can operationalize,” said Andanar, who also leads the NTF-ELCAC’s communications team.
“I know this is not an easy task but together as one, through our convergent action and in partnership with the communities, I believe that we can win this game,” he added.
The NTF-ELCAC has so far organized 17 regional task forces led by the Cabinet Officers for Regional Development Security (CORDS), while the local chief executives have led the provincial, municipal or city, and village task forces, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said in November.
Serving as CORDS in Northern Mindanao, Andanar lauded the RTF-ELCAC in the area for their helping the national government in putting an end to communism in the country.
“It is with great pride go lead a very proactive and committed regional and local stakeholders in addressing the issues and challenges in attaining sustainable peace and inclusive development,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal, Northern Mindanao RTF-ELCAC technical working group chairperson and 4th Infantry Division commanding officer, noted that the implementation of programs and projects would transform conflict-affected areas to “conflict resilient communities.”
Andanar hoped that stakeholders would participate in the government’s resolve to maintain peace and order all throughout the country.
“I enjoin all the regional and local partners that as we move forward, let us remain steadfast in pushing forward the peace and development priorities of Northern Mindanao,” he said.
The anti-insurgency group continues to pursue efforts to accomplish target goals for this year while gearing up the implementation of more programs and projects for peace and development in 2020.
Earlier this month, Duterte expressed willingness to resume the national government’s stalled peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Despite this, suspected members of the CPP’s armed component, the New People’s Army (NPA) allegedly detonated an improvised explosive device in Borongan City, Eastern Samar on Friday afternoon, killing a police officer and a 69-year-old woman and wounding several others.
The CPP-NPA is tagged as a terror group by the Philippines, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (PNA)