CORDS drastically reduces E. Visayas insurgency problem

By Lade Jean Kabagani / Philippine News Agency

(Contributed photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte's designation of Cabinet secretaries as Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) is a huge step in ensuring the country's progressive development amid the threat of communist terrorist groups (CTGs).


Housing czar Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, also the CORDS for Region 8 (Eastern Visayas), said Duterte's strong political will and aggressive leadership to end insurgency "paved the way for development in previously conflict-hit areas in the region".


Del Rosario said the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) posted a 49-percent reduction on the insurgency problem in 310 communist-influenced villages since 2018.


Through the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches, del Rosario said security forces dismantled communist guerilla fronts.


"The remaining CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front) capability in Region 8 is continuously declining, hence we are declaring today that our timeline to neutralize and diminish the influence and fighting capability of the communist terrorists is achievable and doable within the President’s term," del Rosario said in an interview on Friday.


To date, del Rosario reported that 3,395 out of 4,390 barangays, or 77 percent of village officials in the entire region, declared persona non grata the members of CTGs.


All mayors and governors of the provinces of Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran, Samar, Eastern Samar, and Northern Samar did the same.


The government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and the Barangay Development Program under the flagship framework of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) are currently enforced in Eastern Visayas.


For the E-CLIP alone, the RTF-ELCAC-8 in 2020 distributed about PHP13.85 million worth of assistance to 296 former rebels, comprised of members of the NPA and Militia ng Bayan.


The assistance was meant to establish communal gardens, house farm breeders, poultry houses, and slaughterhouses, as well as education facilities for the former combatants.


A total of PHP1.85 million cash aid was distributed to rebel returnees in Samar under the Peace towards Prosperity Initiative.


Del Rosario earlier announced the construction of housing projects worth PHP75 million for communist rebels who returned to the fold of the law.


“The government is fully committed to addressing the issues of insurgency in the region, particularly in the areas infiltrated by the CPP and its armed wing, the NPA,” he said.


The RTF-ELCAC-8 was created by the Regional Development Council 8 and Regional Peace and Order Council Eastern Visayas under the provisions of EO 70.


The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)

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