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NorMin agencies cite NTF ELCAC’s importance in community dev't

Updated: May 3, 2021

By Nef Luczon / Philippine News Agency

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Several representatives of national government agencies in Region 10 on Thursday said the National Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) has been essential in implementing crucial development projects in communities long neglected in the past.

Oliver Inodeo, a Department of Social Welfare and Development - Region 10 (DSWD-10) information officer, said the "whole-of-nation approach" under the Executive Order (EO) No. 70 signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in 2018, brought sustainable peace and development "to our communities, especially in the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas and in conflict-affected areas in Northern Mindanao."

He said through NTF-ELCAC, the anti-insurgency body formed under EO 70, DSWD has managed to focus on vulnerable communities by prioritizing them in the delivery of basic services and social development activities.

It helps, he said, that through NTF-ELCAC, DSWD is joined by other national government agencies, local government units, and civil society organizations to better facilitate their interventions and development programs.

"Therefore, defunding the budget for the Whole-of-Nation’s program, projects, and activities would greatly affect the efforts in realizing peace and development and would affect the delivery of programs and services to the most vulnerable communities in Northern Mindanao," he said.

Part of NTF-ELCAC's mandate is to create a localized version of the task force in the provincial and local government units, even to the barangays.

For Dr. Arturo Bayocot, director of the Department of Education Region 10 (DepEd-10), partnering with NTF-ELCAC is an opportunity to perform the agency's mandates, especially in putting up schools in the hinterland communities, which can be "vulnerable to communist indoctrination."

He said DepEd can work within the budget that was allocated to them even without the funding from ELCAC.

He, however, said he would leave the decision to the Senate and House of Representatives whether they will move for the defunding of the task force.

Carlene Collado, Department of Agriculture in Region 10 (DA-10) executive director, said even though the agency has no direct fund allocation from NTF-ELCAC, DA has its own projects for former rebels.

"The (planned) defunding (of some legislators) has no direct effect in our efforts to support ELCAC initiatives in Region 10," he said.

He with the agency having around 20 attached bureaus and corporations, it will find ways to give livelihood projects to former rebels and priority communities as identified by the Armed Forces of the Philippines. (PNA)



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