The proposed budget for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) would boost the existing development programs in barangays, benefiting villagers in areas that have been cleared from the influence of the communist rebel movement.
This was raised by Surigao del Sur Gov. Alexander Pimentel, who expressed support for the proposed PHP16.4 billion allocation for NTF-ELCAC next year.
In a statement Tuesday, Pimentel pointed out that the NTF-ELCAC includes social development packages, livelihood projects, and infrastructure that are enumerated under the Barangay Development Programs (BDPs) of villages that have been considered “cleared” from the influence of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).
“I say this with much severity, for I have personally witnessed how our barangay officials consulted with their constituents in the crafting of their development plans and have thoroughly identified their essential needs to attain a peaceful and progressive community,” Pimentel said.
The governor said Surigao del Sur residents “have suffered enough being victims of extortion, indoctrination along with the continuous exploitation of our minors being recruited to join the armed struggle” by the CPP-NPA.
Pimentel said the presence of the communist rebels constantly threatens the economic activities in the province.
“The denial of the proposed budget for NTF-ELCAC would be tantamount to the loss of the hopes and aspirations of the local populace to have better lives and the continuation of the exploitation of the CPP-NPA on the issues considered as the root causes of the insurgency,” he said.
He also challenged the members of the Makabayan bloc in the Lower House, who he said have been known to advocate for the marginalized sectors, to support the passage of the NTF-ELCAC budget.
“Now is the time to prove your intentions and be true to your advocacies,” Pimentel said, as he urged them not to delay the enactment of the said budget. (PNA)