Samal mayor calls NTF-ELCAC defunding 'foolish'
By Che Palicte / Philippine News Agency
ISLAND GARDEN CITY OF SAMAL, Davao del Norte – Mayor Al David Uy said the defunding of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) is "foolish" and a disservice to the barangays that fought hard to clear their communities of communist terrorist groups (CTGs).
“If you have issues with the person, you deal with that person, not with the program. I think defunding would be foolish, would be stupid, to be frank. It is a big disservice to the barangays who suffered too much from these New People’s Army (NPA),” Uy said in an interview Friday.
He said the city is not a recipient of the Barangay Development Program (BDP), but noted that the initiative would help villages in terms of infrastructure projects and crucial interventions.
The BDP, a hallmark program of NTF ELCAC with the end goal of bringing development to former conflict-prone communities, has identified 822 barangays nationwide that were former guerilla fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army - National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
Of the PHP19 billion total budget of the NTF-ELCAC, PHP16.5 billion is allotted for the development of 822 barangays cleared of insurgency.
Each recipient barangay would receive PHP20 million for the following: 1-kilometer farm-to-market road worth PHP12 million; classrooms (PHP3 million); water and sanitation systems (PHP2 million); health station (PHP1.5 million); and livelihood projects (PHP1.5 million).
“It should continue because it has lined up good projects for the far-flung barangays,” Uy said.
The CPP-NPA, which has been waging a five-decade war against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)