By Jennifer C. Tilos
The Philippine Army here has proposed to the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF ELCAC) to include the 32 Militia ng Bayan surrenderees in the recipients of the financial assistance package under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) earlier this week in Dumaguete City.
“We thank these people for voluntarily surrendering to the government, and recommend that they will be included in the E-CLIP as beneficiaries to assist them who want to abandon the hostility of armed conflict,” said Col. Noel Baluyan, brigade commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade (IB).
E-CLIP is a peace-building and social protection program that provides interventions to former New People’s Army rebels and Militia ng Bayan members in becoming productive citizens of society.
With the decline of COVID-19 cases in the province, the PTF-ELCAC will continue the implementation of programs that have been delayed due to the pandemic.
Baluyan said a lot has to be done in addressing the insurgency problem involving the areas that were previously included in the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP).
RCSP is the primary program in line with the government’s effort at the grassroots level to combat the activities of the communist terrorist group which is focused on socio-economic and cultural problems.
However, under ELCAC, the Peace Law Enforcement and Development Support (PLEDS) cluster is in charge of clearing the guerilla front of CPP-NPA to alert their politico-military infrastructure in the red areas.
“So we want to eradicate the armed group and account for their firearm and clear barangays in the province,” the army commander said.
The task force has identified 16 priority barangays where issues and concerns are collected during the “Dagyawan sa Barangay” activities.
As the country grapples with the COVID-19 crisis, the national government agencies, as well as local government units concerned, are urged to slowly continue the community support programs with the observance of COVID-19 protocols.
“Rest assured that the insurgency problem in the province will be addressed by the NOTF ELCAC, addressing the root causes of the problem down to the sitio level,” said Baluyan.