Success of BDP, BLP main reason not to defund NTF-ELCAC, says Rep. Torres-Gomez
By Jan V. Escosio / Philippine Daily Inquirer
Leyte 4th District Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez. Contributed Photo
MANILA – Leyte 4th District Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez has lauded the programs of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), stressing the success of the Balik Loob Program (BLP) and Barangay Development Program (BDP) serves as the main argument against calls to defund the anti-insurgency body.
“Let us separate the issue of red-tagging and the successful programs of the NTF-ELCAC, namely the Balik Loob Program and the Barangay Development Program. The beneficiaries should not be held responsible for the fault of others. It is not right to make them liable for loose statements, ” Gomez said.
Gomez pointed out that defunding the agency comes with the intention of punishing and bringing down Lt. Gen. Antonio G. Parlade Jr., Commander of AFP Southern Luzon Command and NTF-ELCAC spokesperson, for his remarks,
But, she added: “The whole agency and its beneficiaries suffer as well. By any measure, that is not right.”
She then urged fellow legislators to see and examine NTF-ELCAC’s programs.
Gomez describes the BDP as a transformative program.
“It is an incentive for barangays to be NPA-free. For this, each barangay will receive P20 million in infrastructure development,” she added.
The P20 million for each NPA-free barangay will be broken down as follows: P12 million for farm-to-market-road, P3 million for school building/classrooms, P2 million for water and health/sanitation system, P1.5 million for health station or barangay health center, and P1.5 million for livelihood projects.
NTF-ELCAC’s record shows that 822 barangays nationwide have already benefited from the BDP.
As for the BLP, over 14,000 rebel soldiers have so far surrendered based on the anti-insurgency task force’s data.
Earlier, Gomez proposed the holding of a dialogue between lawmakers and stakeholders of the government’s anti-insurgency campaign, as she pushed anew for continued funding of the NTF-ELCAC.