Army official hopes next admin will sustain NTF-ELCAC gains

President Rodrigo Duterte will be best remembered for addressing peace and order issues and eradicating insurgency, areas that the incoming administration should also prioritize.

Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III, commander of the Army’s 1001st Infantry Brigade (1001st IBde), said they are optimistic that President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will have a similar strong stand against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

In an interview Saturday afternoon, Durante cited the success of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

“Through the NTF-ELCAC’s Barangay Development Program (BDP), we were able to bring down government-supported projects down to the barangay (village) level, even to the sitio (sub-villages),” he added.

A hallmark program of NTF-ELCAC with the end goal of bringing development to former conflict-prone communities, the BDP forms part of the government’s whole-of-nation approach to fight insurgency in the countryside.

The program aims to eradicate the root causes of the insurgency -- poverty, disease, lack of education and opportunities, and social injustice that force far-flung communities to join armed groups.

“That is the biggest contribution of the NTF-ELCAC. In every barangay that we clear from insurgency, that’s where the development projects come in. The community felt that the government is really working,” Durante said.

Under the BDP, each recipient village will spend the PHP20 million to fund farm-to-market roads, school buildings, water and sanitation systems, reforestation and national greening program, and health centers.

“The NTF-ELCAC compels all local government units to cooperate because the peace and order problem is actually a local problem. What’s important is the commitment and dedication of all the mayors in the area,” Durante added.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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