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Local government units (LGUs) played a crucial role in stopping local poll candidates from giving in to the extortion attempts of communist terrorist groups (CTGs) in the last elections.

This was revealed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya in Monday's NTF-ELCAC virtual press briefing focusing on the "successful eradication of terror threats of CTGs towards politicians."

Malaya explained, “This is a combination of factors: the support of the local government units, our focused military and police operations, the retooled community support programs, the support to the barangay development programs. All of these have contributed to the severely diminished capacity of the CTGs to collect and harass our politicians. So, this was a combination of supply and demand, the supply has diminished, the demand has diminished and therefore we have this successful conduct of the elections.”

Malaya, who is also the NTF ELCAC Spokesperson on Local Government Affairs and Barangay Development Program validated the report made by DILG Secretary Eduardo Año to President Rodrigo Duterte that there are no reports of politicians or LGU officials paying permits to campaign fees or any form of aid to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in this year's elections.

“Magandang report ito sa Pangulo ni Secretary Año," Malaya said, adding that the early warning issued by Año that politicians who would give in to the demands of CPP-NPA-NDF would be penalized for violating Republic Act 10168, otherwise known as the "Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012", Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code and Article 137 of the Revised Penal Code or the Disloyalty of Public Officers.

"But this is not just the DILG, but the entire NTF-ELCAC that vigorously reminded local officials," that the goal of the task force in eradicating CTGs depends on them.

Malaya added that the concerted efforts also resorted to lesser 'election-related violence' (ERV), with only 20 incidents reported this year, compared to the 2010 elections which have 166, and the 2016 elections with 133 ERV.

“Essentially, napakaganda ng nakaraang eleksyon. I think this is one of the most successful conduct of elections in recent memory. I think the reforms na ginawa natin, since the beginning up to now, including the automation of the election, the focused deployment of police in all areas, and the use of the PNP police officers as Board of Elections Inspectors (BEIs) in areas where there is harassment and intimidation of regular teachers have made it possible for us to be this successful,” Malaya explained.

He also dismissed allegations of some sectors, especially the front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF that there was so-called ‘massive cheating’ during the conduct of the recent elections.

Malaya said, “The conditions are not supported by data or the facts on the ground. Because kitang-kita naman natin if there was a problem during the election. It was just na napakaraming taong dumating na gustong bumoto, very high ang naging voter turnout, therefore humaba ang pila. At pangalawa, may ilang vote-counting machines na nagkaproblema, but the defective vote-counting machines were just less than 1 percent of the entire inventory of all the vote-counting machines in the country. At yung walang problema ay 99.2%. So, there is really no debate anymore. This was a very successful election.”

In addition, Philippine National Police (PNP) Officer-in-Charge, PLtGen Vicente Danao Jr. said that the country has experienced a generally peaceful election because politicians "have matured enough to swayed away" from the CTGs' scheme during elections, "pulling down the insurgency."

Col. Ramon Zagala, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson also said, this was the result of better communications with their field units telling communities that were formerly infested by CTGs, that insurgency has already had 'dwindling support’. And most of these groups were already weakened.

These were also attested by Davao Oriental 1st District, Congressman-elect Nelson Dayanghirang who said his constituents are now one with the government in fighting the CPP-NPA-NDF.

"Because we always emphasize good governance. Our government gives services to the people. Very unpopular na ang CPP–NPA in our province. Nagkaroon na kasi ng pagkakaisa, malaki rin ang role ng mga barangay officials," according to Dayanghirang, the incumbent Davao Oriental governor, who recently won a seat in the House of Representatives.

"Masaya ako walang nagbigay na mga politicians sa demand. Ibig sabihin palapit na nang palapit ang katapusan ng CPP-NPA-NDF," Dayanghirang concluded.



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