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5 SoCot villages eyed for ELCAC projects

By Allen Estabillo / Philippine News Agency

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The provincial government of South Cotabato is working on the implementation of various socio-economic projects in five barangays that were previously affected by the communist insurgency.

Ma. Ana Uy, community affairs officer, said Wednesday they are currently looking into several community-based initiatives that will address the concerns and needs of residents for basic services.

She said the target recipients are Barangays San Jose in Koronadal City, Cebuano in Tupi, Klubi and Lamfugon in Lake Sebu, and Sitio Ellaw of Laconon in Tboli.

These were earlier identified by the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines as insurgency-cleared or End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) areas.

Uy said the local government’s convergence team, as directed by South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr., recently visited these areas to assess the situation and determine the concerns of residents.

“(The governor) wanted to know as early as now the priority needs of these barangays based on their barangay development plans,” she said in a statement.

During the initial visit, she said the team found out some problems and needs of the identified areas, among them the rehabilitation and opening of roads, electrification, livelihood, and the lack of potable water systems.

Uy said their team will visit anew the five target communities next month to validate their listed issues and concerns.

Under the program, the concerned barangays and the local government will later formulate the necessary plans for the funding and implementation of the priority projects.

“Aside from the budget from national agencies, the provincial government will also allocate a certain amount to support the program,” Uy said.

The initiative is part of the provincial government’s flagship Convergence Program for Poverty Reduction, which aims to bring various basic services and projects to the disadvantaged and conflict-affected areas in partnership with other government agencies and the private sector.

It complements the interventions of the Provincial Task Force ELCAC, which was created under Executive Order (EO) No. 70 of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The EO provides for the rollout of the “whole-of-nation” approach to sustain peace and order in local communities, especially in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas. (PNA)

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