NTF ELCAC most potent strategy vs. insurgency: mayor
By Priam Nepomuceno / Philippine News Agency
MANILA – The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC), with its whole-of-nation approach, is so far the most potent strategy being utilized by the Duterte administration in defeating the more than 50-year insurgency problem created by communist terrorists.
"End Local Communist Armed Conflict or ELCAC, the much-debated DU30 whole-of-nation-approach in fighting the insurgency being waged by the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front) is by far the most comprehensive, very potent, and lethal strategy ever conceptualized and launched by the national government against this five decades-old insurgency problem," said Mayor Gabino P. Ganggangan, of Sadanga, Mt. Province, on his Facebook post on June 2.
This approach, Ganggangan said, is very timely and apt considering that insurgency has been treated in the past as a military problem with the Armed Forces of the Philippines being utilized to counter its spread.
"In the past, the insurgency had always been seen as a military problem hence only the armed services of (the) national government has been utilized to fight it mainly in armed combat with not much success in defeating it and its roots. To the contrary, this insurgency had even entrenched itself in many sectors of our society to include government executive agencies and Congress itself," he said.
But this time, he said, the Duterte administration has recognized that insurgency is also a social-economic, and political problem aside from being a military one and wants to confront it squarely.
"This new strategy aimed at finally defeating this half a century ideology that seeks to supplant the constitutionally established political and economic system of the country is mandated under E.O #70. (Executive Order No. 70). It mobilizes all relevant agencies of the executive branch of government to deliver their respective share in this Whole-of-Nation Approach," he added.
But in order for this strategy to work, he said some basic goals and objectives must have to be substantively accomplished by the various respective role players in this initiative.
This includes stopping the local and foreign funding sources of the communist terrorists, Ganggangan said.
"For decades, the CPP-NPA-NDF were able to build up and establish their sources of financing thru various international funding donors and agencies. These fund donors had been deceived and were made to believe that what they are financially supporting are legitimate Programs, Projects, Activities (PPA’s) that cater to the poor sector of society such as the IPs (indigenous peoples) and urban poor, etc. This flow of funds from various sources both from international as well as from local sources must have to be stopped by NTF ELCAC," he added.
Youth, IP recruitment
Ganggangan said recruitment of the youth, the Indigenous Peoples (IPs), and college students, who are being molded and shaped as NPA fighters, by the so-called "legal fronts" must also be stopped.
"The regular source of armed combatants (NPA) of the CPP is mostly from the IPs, the youth and university or college students. They are deceived and made to believe that they are rendering public service and even to feel 'heroic' and patriotic by hating and fighting the government. This recruitment process is being done by the political cadres of the 'legal front' organizations as well as the underground organization of the CPP NDF," he added.
The NTF and Regional Task Forces, together with school authorities, must work together to combat and stop this recruitment by exposing the lies, deceptions of these front organizations and CPP political organizers in doing their “antagonizing organizing and mobilizing” works among these sectors of society.
Military, legal offensives
Ganggangan suggested that the AFP needs to intensify and sustain the military offensive against the guerrilla fighters, continue dismantling guerrilla zones, and shield these liberated areas from being regained back by the “party” political organizers such as the “legal party lists” and their underground and front organizations.
He added that the government's legal prosecution arm also needs to file strong and winnable cases in court against CPP-NPA-NDF officials and leaders responsible for the past murders, terroristic violence that victimized their former comrades, and other citizens, in order to give transitional justice to all their victims.
Party-list groups duplicity
Ganggangan added that exposing the duplicity of these leftist party-list representatives and intensifying the campaign against them in the coming elections will weed out these CPP-NPA-NDF members from Congress and other government offices.
This is to deny them from infiltrating and utilizing government resources to advance their clandestine terroristic activities and intentions to overthrow the national government.
He cited the need for more and sustained information and education campaigns to inform the general public of the workings of the CPP-NPA-NDF, their party-list groups, and front organizations.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
"For LGUs (local government units), provincial, municipal, as well as barangay governments especially the political leaders to make a firm stand against these leftist groups especially their front organizations operating in their respective areas of jurisdiction, and deny them of any civilian political support. Expose and publicize these front organizations and their officers in order to forewarn their constituents to refrain from joining these organizations and supporting their mass actions or activities," he said.
He added that duly-elected leaders must lead the advocacy to reject and declare these front organizations and declare them persona non grata.
"Enough of the usual 'playing safe' attitude and playing friendly to them just for our political convenience," Ganggangan said.
Cordillera regional autonomy
He proposed that Congress should finally pass an Organic Act to establish Cordillrea’s regional autonomy to “divest” or deprive communists of their long-time political mass issue to exploit in their agitation works against the government.
"Let’s remember that the insurgency took roots here in the Cordillera Region mainly due to the issue of asserting our right to self-determination. We Cordillerans want to have control and exercise our decision making over our resources, self-governance, culture, etc. Hence, this must be satisfactorily addressed and acted upon by Congress," he said.
While various agencies, departments of the Executive Branch of government down to the various levels of LGUs are being mobilized to do their respective share in NTF ELCAC’s whole-of-nation approach, he said Congress must do their mandate to pass a law on Cordillera autonomy.
"This legislative piece of work is also a major if not an indispensable ingredient in the whole menu to end this insurgency in the Cordillera. This comprehensive whole-of-nation approach must be sustained by the next administrations until this 'virus' is finally eradicated in our country," he added. (PNA)