MANILA – The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) headed by President Rodrigo Duterte has accomplished more than any other administrations in neutralizing the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
In his message on the success of the NTF-ELCAC, President Duterte said: “Our past experiences have shown us that a purely military-centric approach to the problem will not achieve the desired results. Assessing on our past practices, we have come to the conclusion that solving the insurgency requires a holistic and inclusive process which responds to the basic needs of our communities.”
At a recent virtual presscon, National Security Adviser Sec. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the “whole-of-nation” approach under Executive Order 70 (EO 70) that created the NTF-ELCAC has been very effective and decisive in addressing the root causes of the 52-year-old insurgency that will finally bring an end to the senseless armed conflict and attain an inclusive and sustainable peace all over the country.
The CPP-NPA-NDF seeks the violent overthrow of the democratically-elected government and replaces it with an autocratic and tyrannical communist regime.
The NTF-ELCAC’s latest triumphs include the NDF being designated by the Anti-Terrorist Council (ATC) as a terrorist group. This designation, which was described as long overdue, empowered the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to issue a freeze order on all the accounts and assets related to the NDF.
Esperon pointed out that this monumental achievement, under the leadership of President Duterte is designed to weaken and finally limit the movement of the whole CPP-NPA-NDF and its many front organizations.
He said: “the President only gave him two words for the NTF-ELCAC—Good Governance.”
This was Esperon’s working formula to give NTF-ELCAC its clear purpose in serving the Filipinos of all political affiliations and beliefs.
Esperon, who also serves as vice-chairman of the Task Force, said their main focus now would be on the effective implementation of the PHP 16.44-billion Barangay Development Program, which was directly given to the local government units (LGUs) by the Department of Budget and Management.
He said some of the projects have now been started with recent groundbreakings in Rizal, Kalinga, and Sorsogon.
He hoped that the members of the media would join them in the succeeding groundbreakings to see for themselves the various ongoing projects to finally free conflict-vulnerable barangays from the clutches of the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs).
Since the signing of EO 70 on December 4, 2018 by President Duterte, the Task Force has achieved various accomplishments and undertakings, said Gaye Florendo, the NTF-ELCAC assistant spokesperson for the Public Affairs and on Indigenous Peoples (IPs) Concerns.
“We are seeing our IP communities, our most marginalized and the most affected sector in this armed conflict as recipients of several intervention efforts, with provisions for housing, and the construction of DepEd’s (Department of Education) last-mile schools,” he said.
In the video presentation—NTF-ELCAC in Review, Highlights of Activities—the Task Force, under the Local Government Empowerment Program, got the support of 1,715 LGUs in the country to denounce the CTGs, with 84 percent of them or 1,436 LGUs approving a resolution declaring the CTGs as persona non grata in their respective localities.
The presentation also showed that a total of 2,701 retooled community support program orientations from 2020 to 2021 were undertaken along with the implementation of “Barangayanihan,” Serbisyo Caravan, and “Barangayan” in the various barangays of the country
Other milestones achieved by the NTF-ELCAC under its basic services program include: 190 finished and 141 ongoing housing projects through the National Housing Authority for the IP since 2016 in Davao del Norte and Cagayan de Oro City; the closure of Salugpungan Schools and the provision of 9,691 last-mile schools built by the Department of Education from 2019 to 2021; establishment of 8,244 Barangay Health Stations by the Department of Health; and the electrification of 40 sitios by the National Electrification Administration, the video pointed out.
In 2020 alone, the Task Force has built 8,339 bridges and 32,933 kms of roads in 2018; 8,410 bridges and 33,018 kms of roads in 2019; and 8,496 bridges and 33,119 kms of roads under its Infrastructure Development program.
The NTF-ELCAC has also awarded 253 Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADTs) by the National Commission on IPs for 5.8M hectares and 1.3M IP Rights Holders; while on-process Ancestral Domain (AD) areas is 209 or about 3.8M hectares; and about 486 were identified as AD areas or 3.756M hectares. Through the Department of Agrarian Reform, the Task Force has awarded about 51,797 Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) from 2018 to 2021.
The Task Force through its Peace, Law Enforcement, Development, and Security Program has dismantled 16 Guerilla Fronts and 6 Regional Guerilla Units, while 5 were weakened; filed International Humanitarian Law violations against the CPP-NPA-NDF by the 58th Infantry Battalion and 4th Infantry Division with the Commission on Human Rights in Region 10; EO 70 orientation for officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; rescue of trafficked IP students in Cebu, among others.
With its Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Program, the NTF-ELCAC has given livelihood training to 194 barangays with 268 interventions from various agencies; while skills training was provided to 710 barangays with 1,576 interventions from TESDA, DepEd, and various agencies.
The Task Force also installed solar lighting and charging systems, established cooperatives, distributed funds to Agrarian Reform beneficiaries, established vegetable and poultry farms, and provided livelihood kits to former rebels, and set up Project IPEACE in IP communities.
In its Legal cooperation and Local Peace Engagement Programs, the NTF-ELCAC achieved the following: filing of perjury case against CTGs, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), Gabriela, and Karapatan; backing of the Commission on Elections on the bid to cancel the Gabriela Party-list Registration; Investigation and case build-up on Haran 31; freezing of CTGs assets; Samar Bishops leading local peace dialogues; and Ugnayan sa Barangay, among others.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PR)