Escudero: Rural dev’t to prevent insurgency
By Connie Calipay
Sorsogon Governor Francis “Chiz” Escudero said on June 24 that barangay development projects will prevent the people from joining the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
Speaking during the blessing and inauguration of the “Harong Paglaom” (House of Hope), a halfway home built for former NPA rebels in Juban town, Sorsogon, Escudero said, “Whole-of-Nation approach means not everything is done by guns, bombs, and ammunition in fighting rebels groups and to convince them to return to the fold of the law.
Harong Paglaum was built under the Support for the Barangay Development Program (BDP) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC).
“We witness the groundbreaking ceremonies of projects in two barangays (Sta. Cruz and San Pascual in Casiguran town). At least 15 barangays with P20-million worth of projects will be given by the national government,” he said.
He said he was informed that BDP projects will benefits at least 204 barangays or 37 percent of the total villages in Sorsogon will benefit that would improve and enhance people’s lives.
“More than 50 years, Filipino to Filipino fight each other. That for me, must come to an end, stop the fighting and start talking. If we can do it by giving and helping each other to return the life of our fellowmen, our former rebels to normalcy,” he added.
Escudero also thanked President Rodrigo R. Duterte through National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon, for the BDP projects and all the help being given to the province of Sorsogon, including former NPA rebels.
He expressed gratefulness for the government’s receptiveness to the needs of far-flung barangays.
Meanwhile, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said an inclusive society must be created to attain sustainable peace.
“Founded on the aspect of justice and equality of all people including those belonging to the disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors, this is the essence of NTF ELCAC and corresponding regional task forces,” he said in his message via Zoom.
He added: “Executive Order 70 directed the adoption of national peace framework, which provides for mechanisms to address the root causes of insurgencies, internal disturbances, and other armed conflicts and threats.”
Honasan, who is also Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security, noted the importance of institutionalizing a whole-of-nation approach to prioritize and harmonize the delivery of basic services and social development packages to conflict areas and vulnerable communities.
“We hope to address poverty, hence truly ending and eradicating insurgency problem in these areas. To our barangay beneficiaries, rest assured that the Regional Task Force ELCAC, will continue to monitor and provide help to your localities as we continue our mission to attain sustainable and inclusive, and long-lasting peace in Region 5,” he added,
During the groundbreaking activity, hundreds of Bicolanos in two villages of Sorsogon province benefited from government services during the Support to Barangay Development Program (SBDP) Roadshow-Barangayan information and services caravan on June 23-24.
Residents of barangays Sta. Cruz and San Pascual in Casiguran town availed of various services from member-agencies of the Regional Task Force-Bicol and local government units under the End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) program.
Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Regional Director Marlon Loterte said the Department of Health-Rural Health Unit (DOH-RHU) administered coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine to priority sectors, while the Armed Forces of the Philippines provided medical and dental services, and free haircut,
He added that the Philippine National Police provided food to the villagers, while the Department of Agriculture distributed crop seeds.
The PIA led a community dialogue, distribution of information, education and communication materials, and film showing on the milestones of programs and initiatives on the whole-of-nation approach under President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) 70. (PNA)