NTF-ELCAC helps ease poverty at grassroots: Iloilo guv
By Perla Lena / Philippine News Agency
ILOILO CITY – The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) goes deep into the grassroots to enable them to help themselves out of poverty, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said.
In a media interview Friday afternoon, Defensor said the task force provides solutions to the insurgency problem by “attacking the root cause.”
He made the statement in response to the planned abolition of the NTF-ELCAC by Vice President Leni Robredo should she win in the May 2022 presidential race.
In addition to its civic action and interfacing with communities, the task force also provides funds for road projects, Defensor said.
The provincial government, through its engineering office, is carrying out about PHP700 million worth of projects in various barangays, funded under the NTF-ELCAC’s Barangay Development Program (BDP).
The BDP is a hallmark program of the task force with the end goal of bringing development to former conflict-prone communities.
Under the BDP, each insurgency-cleared barangay, or those formerly established as guerilla fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), has been allocated assistance worth PHP20 million to rehabilitate and develop the area.
“We are implementing the funds that they allocated for the program. Projects that could improve the condition of remote barangays. Barangays that are not accessible, where life is poor, are vulnerable to insurgency,” Defensor said in the vernacular.
He said upon the download of the fund, the provincial government sends its engineers to recipient barangays to prepare the program of work and carry out the project.
The governor said the program boosts the initiative of the whole government in bringing development to the barangays, especially in remote areas, to prevent them from becoming vulnerable.
“What is our experience? Insurgency begins where the road ends,” he said.
His suggestion is to concentrate on accessibility, saying when a place is accessible, “the problem disappears.”
Some barangays also prefer street lights to road projects because rebels avoid lighted areas, he said. (PNA)