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NTF-ELCAC seeks to restore P10M per barangay for 2025 SBDP



June 26, 2024




Officials of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) have appealed to Congress to restore the P10-million budget each for recipients of the Support to Barangay Development Program (SBDP) for 2025, stressing that the program has been a “game-changer” in the campaign to free Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAs) from the grip of communist terrorism.

“Hopefully, bawat barangay ang proposal natin ay P10 milyon. Nabuo na po, ‘yung deadline na ibinigay sa atin ng DBM (Department of Budget and Management) ay nagampanan at naibigay na natin sa National Expenditure Program (NEP) para sa 2025,” Project Management Office (PMO) Assistant Director Rene Valera from the DILG’s Office of Project Development Services (OPDS) revealed during a virtual press conference Thursday last week.

Last April, after the NTF-ELCAC Executive Committee meeting, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. stood firm with NTF-ELCAC amid recommendations for its abolition and even told the latter he would find ways to restore its P10M budget per barangay for next year.

Marcos’ remarks came after he was apprised of the successes and current challenges in the implementation of the SBDP in previously conflict-affected barangays.

In the proposed 2025 SBDP budget, the NTF-ELCAC has listed 870 barangays for P10M each worth of farm-to-market roads, school buildings, water and sanitation systems, health stations, rural electrification, and other relevant non-infra projects that help boost the sustainable livelihood of GIDAs communities.

For his part, NTF-ELCAC Deputy Executive Director and SBDP Action Officer Monico Batle said they are confident of the restoration of the P10M budget.

“So, nakita rin natin, tingnan natin ‘yung history. Noong una, P20M ‘yung ni-request natin, tapos Ok tayo. Naging P10M. (Sa) 2022 ay naging P4M. Tapos 2023, nag-request tayo ng P10M pero ginawang P6M, Ang worst na nangyari noong 2023, nag-request tayo ng P10M, pero ginawang P2.5M,” he said.


“So, at the national level, ang effort natin ay sinusulatan natin ang mga mambabatas na mayroong barangay beneficiaries for the past three years…,” Batle added.

He said the government has been implementing a roadmap until 2028 and beyond since the inception of Executive Order No. 70 in 2018, and the NTF-ELCAC is dealing with more or less 8,000 cleared conflict-affected barangays.

“In fact, ‘yung sinasabi kanina na additional 3,000 ay ito ‘yung mga barangay na nakita ng AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) noong 2009 and beyond,” he said.

Nevertheless, Batle said the ongoing transition from internal to external defense doesn’t mean the end of the government’s quest to finally end local communist armed conflict in the country.

But he said the “ELCAC” aspect of the task force must have to end. “Ang tatapusin lang naman natin ay ang armadong pakikibaka (ng Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army- National Democratic Front).”

Batle emphasized that after eliminating the armed component of the CPP-NPA-NDF, the task force can now fully focus on economic development in all the liberated conflict-affected areas.

“Nakalagay naman sa ating programa (roadmap) na ang SBDP ay tuloy-tuloy,” he said.

In retrospect, the government has already released a total of P28.39 billion for its SBDP.

“As of this date, 2,451 Farm-to-Market Roads projects had been constructed, totaling 1,050 kilometers completed and 57.54 kilometers are ongoing; out of the total 461 School Building projects, 623 Classrooms had been completed and 120 are ongoing; out of the total 1,049 Water and Sanitation System projects, 846 had been completed while 203 are on-going; out of the 447 Health Station projects, 366 had been completed while 76 are on-going; out of the total 518 Rural Electrification projects, 14,823 (on-grid, streetlights, off-grid) had been completed while 347 others are on-going. Several other infra and non-infra projects have been completed and on-going status. All in all, these projects had a total released budget of Php 28.393 Billion funded under the LGSF-SBDP funds for FY 2021-2023,” the DILG report stated.


“The SBDP is simply called good governance,” Valera said.


NTF-ELCAC National Secretariat Executive Director and Undersecretary Ernesto Torres Jr. likened the program to a “game-changer” or a potent strategy to end the decades-old terror-grooming and deception activities by the CPP-NPA-NDF in vulnerable conflict-affected areas.

According to Batle, SBDP 2021 fund utilization, as of the June 2024 update, had a total budget of P16.44B. Of the amount, P15.94B was obligated or 96.96%, P14.211B was disbursed (86.44%) and P537.682 million (3.27%) reverted to the national treasury. This fiscal year funded 822 cleared barangays with 2,133 completed projects from the targeted 2,320, or 91.94% completed and the rest are ongoing, for procurement and either terminated or cancelled.


In 2022, the government released P5.624B for SBDP for 1,406 barangays, of which P5.568B (99.02%) was obligated. Of the obligated amount P5.141B (91.42%) was disbursed. A total of P43.969M was reverted back to the treasury. At least 98.08% or 1,686 worth of projects from 1,719 were completed.


For 2023, of the 1,253 projects for 958 barangays 639 (51%) were completed. The fiscal year has P6.392B fund. Of the amount, P3.517B (55.57%) had been obligated and P1.954B (30.88%) had been disbursed.


Of the P2.160B fund allocation for 864 barangays for 2024 composed of 885 projects, P1.292B (59.89%) has been released by the DBM.


To set the record straight, both Valera and Batle emphasized that the SBDP budget goes directly to the municipal treasury that hosts and implements the barangay projects, not NTF-ELCAC or the DILG.


Valera explained that the SBDP has bridged development gaps in GIDAs that for decades became laboratory grounds for communist violent extremism by waging an armed struggle to topple the government.


NTF-ELCAC MEDIA BUREAU

Ref: Joel M. Sy Egco

09155506969



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