ELCAC belies Senate claims on BDP reports
By Maricel Cruz / Manila Standard
The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) has submitted to the Congress the required accomplishment reports of the Barangay Development Program (BDP) for the first to third quarter of 2021.
NTF-ELCAC Vice Chairman Hermogenes Esperon Jr. stressed that the P16.44 billion total fund of the BDP were utilized, monitored, and disseminated by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) with transparency.
Esperon made the statement in response to the documents shown by Senate finance committee in a budget deliberation that only 26 of the total 2,318 projects under the NTF-ELCAC Barangay Development Fund worth P16.4 billion have been completed.
“I categorially state that the NTF-ELCAC has not been remiss in its reportorial requirements in connection with the P16.4 billion. Nonetheless we will continue to reach out and explain to our lawmakers the progress of the implementation of the BDP,” he said.
“Our mandate to the people includes not just the facilitation of inclusive development and sustainable peace initiatives, but also transparency and accountability to the people whose taxes have funded this nationwide undertaking,” Esperson said. Maricel V. Cruz
He said that upon the release of the Notice of Authority to Debit Account Issued (NADAI) to the local government units concerned, the funds are now deemed available for use in the procurement process.
However, due to procedural requirements of the procurement law, implementation of some projects has started in April 2021.
“While we are aware that the fund utilization is up to December 21, 2022, we are confident that most, if not all, of the 2,318 projects will be completed by the middle of 2022,” Esperon said in a statement.
“The NTF-ELCAC has been submitting the required reports in coordination with the DBM and DILG. We take transparency and accountability to heart, as it is the core of our monitoring team of the BDP. In fact, we have created the transparency page of the NTF-ELCAC website where progress reports of the program are listed down to the barangay level,” the National Security Adviser added.
The Senate committee on finance slashed the NTF-ELCAC budget from the proposed P28 billion to just P4 billion allegedly due to failure of the agency to provide Congress with detailed reports on the utilization of the P16 billion budget for this year.
For this year, Esperon said the P16.44 billion has benefitted 822 barangays in 39 provinces or covering 2,029 infrastructure projects like farm-to-market roads, water sanitation system, health station, school building, electrification, housing and 289 non-infrastructure projects such as agricultural and livelihood; COVID-19 health related projects and assistance to indigent families.
Esperon said of the 2,318 BDP projects, 26 have already been completed while 582 are currently ongoing. The 1,047 are on the procurement stage and 663 are on pre-procurement stage.
For 2022, the proposal of the NTF-ELCAC is to provide BDP to 1,406 barangays because they were already cleared from the influence of the New People’s Army (NPA) and other communist terrorist groups (CTG).
Meanwhile, Esperon has cited the support of several LGU officials in the endeavor of the NTF-ELCAC which primarily to end insurgency in the countryside.
The League of Provinces of the Philippines has signed a Resolution No. 2021-009 or Supporting President Duterte’s Anti-Insurgency Program and Urging Congress to Approve the Proposed P28.120 billion Allocation for the BDP of the NTF-ELCAC in the 2022 General Appropriations Bill.
Similarly, the Local Chief Executives of the 1,406 barangays, through a unified statement of support, stated their gratitude and appreciation to the administration’s BDP which give the people the encouragement to live peaceful, productive, and progressive lives.
“Let me take this opportunity to thanks Governors and Mayors who have openly expressed their support to the continuation of the BDP. We are hopeful that the good Senators join in the call of their constituencies in pushing for the complete implementation of the BDP for 1,406 barangays in 2022,” Esperon said.