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NTF ELCAC’s BDP impacts remote barangay in Zamboanga de Sur




A local village in Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur expressed its gratitude to the Barangay Development Program (BDP) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), for helping bring it to the path of peace and development.


“Hindi na namin problema ang tubig, lalo na ang inumin. Ang mga pamilya dito nakakatanggap na ng supply ng tubig sa kanilang bahay. Hindi na nila kailangan maghanap ng tubig kung saan,” Ronelo Antubo, the barangay captain of Barangay Gasa, said, during the visit of the NTF-ELCAC over the weekend to check on the status of implementation of the BDP in the area.


“Nagtataka kami nang makarating kami sa Manila, napakaraming tulay pero wala namang tubig. Sa amin, napakaraming ilog pero walang tulay,” Antubo said, in jest, as he reminisced the barangay’s prior condition.


BDPs are provided to barangays to initially stimulate development, particularly those that have very limited resources.



Gasa is a small barangay in Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur, and part of an ancestral domain where members of the Lumad Subanen reside. The barangay is one of the fortunate recipients of BDP, with a water system installed and roads constructed under the program.


“BDP is given after a barangay is cleared of influence of communist terrorists, in order to promote prosperity and sustain peace in the area,” explained Stephen Cabanlet, NTF ELCAC director for Stakeholder’s Engagement, who was tasked to check the current status of BDP implementation in the countryside.

Before the implementation of the BDP, Gasa and nearby areas were considered a hotbed of violence and extortion perpetrated by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).




“A large portion of this area used to be a playground for the NPA. They mastered the terrain and could easily maneuver within the mountainous area and terrorize the people. Hindi ko makalimutan yung pag-raid nila sa isang municipal hall at police station, parehong mas malapit yun sa siyudad. Kung kaya nilang gawin yun doon, ang hirap isipin kung ano pa yung kaya nilang gawin sa mas malalayong lugar tulad nitong Gasa,” said Lieutenant Colonel Terence P. Ylanan of the 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion of the Philippine Army in an interview.

Antubo narrated how the BDP projects are helping Gasa residents.

“Napakalaking ginhawa nung kalsada na nagawa dito sa amin. Nung isang araw lang nagdala kami ng isang pasyente papunta doon sa clinic, noong wala pang kalsada, lalakarin talaga namin habang buhat ang pasyente. Ngayon pwede na namin gamitin ang mga sasakyan. Mahirap lang kapag kailangan na namin dumaan sa ilog. Nakakapasok na rin sa school ang mga bata dito, pero kailangan pa rin nila dumaan sa ilog… minsan hindi sila makauwi kapag mataas ang tubig sa ilog kapag umuulan,” he said




“Nadadala na rin namin ang mga ani naming mais sa mga pamilihan. Dati talaga ay mahirap dalhin, wala namang farm-to-market roads. Noon hihingan pa kami ng ani o pera kapag may NPA na dumadating dito. Pero simula nang dumating ang mga sundalo at nagkaroon na ng mga proyekto, hindi na kami natatakot sa kanila,” he added.


Ylanan echoed the impact of the NTF-ELCAC development projects on the locals.

“Makikita talaga dito ang impact ng mga NTF-ELCAC projects. Kapag nakikita talaga ng mga tao ang mga projects at nagpapasalamat sa mga gobyerno, hindi na sila natatakot sa mga rebelde. Hindi na sila mababalikan o maiimpluwensyahan ng mga ito. Yung mga tao na mismo magpapaalis sa kanila,” Ylanan said.


Antubo urged the NTF-ELCAC to continue with the delivery of programs and projects in the area, to sustain the gains of the BDP.


“Sana po matulungan pa kami. Marami pa kaming pangangailangan, binabantayan din namin yung pagkumpleto sa kalsada. Sana rin magkaroon ng tulay para hindi na mahirapan sa pagpasok ang mga bata. Sinabihan kami na barangay na daw ang bahala sa mga projects pero maliit lamang ang IRA (internal revenue allotment) ng barangay. Hindi namin matapatan yung naitulong sa amin ng ELCAC, hindi namin magagawa yun nang kami lang,” said Antubo.


The NTF-ELCAC celebrates its fourth anniversary on Friday, Dec. 9. It was created by virtue of Executive Order no. 70, institutionalizing a whole-of-nation approach in the attainment of an inclusive and sustainable peace.















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