Ending insurgency equates with social healing: Lorenzana

MANILAEnding insurgency is a means of achieving social healing, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said during a high-level meeting with Task Force "Balik Loob" lead and partner agencies last Friday.

The task force, which is chaired by DND Undersecretary Reynaldo B. Mapagu, has five lead agencies as its members: the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of National Defense (DND), the National Housing Authority (NHA), the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP), and the Office of the President.

Ending the insurgency is actually not an end but rather a means towards achieving higher national objectives of social healing, reconciliation, unity among our people, and eventually, attaining lasting peace a legacy which the President (Rodrigo R. Duterte) wants to bequeath to the nation and to our people, Lorenzana said in a statement.

In line with this objective, Lorenzana said the task force must work closely with each other for a whole of government approach in providing benefits and services to former rebels.

Also, the DND chief said Task Force "Balik Loob" cannot afford to fail the people and the President.

In the same meeting, DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. AAo, expressed the need for lead and partner agencies, including local government units, down to the Provincial E-CLIP Committees to work together and faster, considering that the allocated funds for various programs have to be utilized before the year ends.

He stated that the former rebels view the E-CLIP as a light at the end of the tunnel, serving as the best option for the nation to finally achieve peace.

E-CLIP refers to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program and is the Duterte administration's flagship program that seeks to address social healing and national unity towards the higher objective of having just and lasting peace.

It aims to provide social equity to former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and the Militia ng Bayan in order to reintegrate them into mainstream society.

Unlike the previous government reintegration programs, the E-CLIP provides a wide array of benefits based on the particular needs of the former rebels and their families such as financial assistance, shelter, education, skills training, healthcare, legal assistance, among others through a convergence of various national and local government agencies.

These benefits are not the end but just means or tools to aid the former rebels while in the process of transitioning into the mainstream society.

In order for us to really solve insurgency, it is still impossible to wipe them (insurgents) all out completely or eliminate them through force. Even if you look at all other insurgencies in the world, they did not end by fighting but rather, through negotiation or by a win-win solution like in Cambodia where everyone was given a chance to go back to the mainstream part of the government or society and this is what we're doing now, the DILG chief added.

Mapagu, meanwhile, thanked all the attendees and reminded them that the Task Force "Balik Loob" is foremost an exercise and a platform to develop teamwork towards realizing the whole of government approach to help former rebels, their families and their communities.

As separate line agencies of the government, we can only do so much. But as one government with different agencies, working hand-in-hand, we can achieve more. We can make our cooperation work to demonstrate good governance worthy of emulation of E-CLIP committees at the local government level, he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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