Residents of three villages in Davao del Norte will benefit significantly from the Barangay Development Program (BDP) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (NTF-ELCAC), with the objective of ending the influence of communists in the areas.
Barangays Semong and Tiburcia, two of 14 villages in Kapalong town, were identified as BDP beneficiaries.
Semong village chief Felipe Portes said the P20-million fund would greatly help them realize their projects.
“We thank the national government for the budget. For the past years, our barangay was a communist terrorist group (CTG)-infiltrated area and now it was declared insurgency-free,” he said in a recent interview.
As agreed by the barangay council, Portes said the fund will be utilized for road concreting of three sitios (sub-communities).
Tiburcia’s Celso Quilla said their barangay did not get any road-concreting projects from the past administrations.
“This is the first time that our barangay availed of a road-concreting project. We thanked NTF-ELCAC for giving us the chance to be part of the BDP,” he added.
Quilla said Purok 4 to Purok 9 will benefit the most.
“We hope that this kind of program will be continued after the term of President Rodrigo Duterte. It really helped our barangay,” he said.
Kapalong Mayor Maria Theresa Timbol said the barangay beneficiaries deserve the reward for their efforts in rejecting CTGs.
“These are the barangays where the NPA are active in their extortion activities. Banana plantations were mostly situated here and the banana growers suffered a lot from the New People’s Army (NPA),” she added.
She said in Barangay Semong, where most of the indigenous people communities reside, road networks are important to transport their goods and products.
On the other hand, Barangay Concepcion, the lone BDP beneficiary in Asuncion town, will use the budget for road concreting and solar street light installation, according to village chief Frilan Amesona.
He said being chosen as one of the BDP beneficiaries brought hope to their community.
“We thanked the national government for recognizing Barangay Concepcion. Other barangays envy us because of BDP,” he said.
Semong, Tiburcia, and Concepcion are part of the 822 villages initially identified by NTF-ELCAC to have been cleared of NPA influence.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
Under the 2021 national budget, a total of P19 billion is earmarked for NTF-ELCAC, P16.5 billion of which is allotted for the development of the 822 barangays.
Each recipient barangay would receive P20 million for the following: 1-kilometer farm-to-market road worth P12 million; classrooms (P3 million); water and sanitation systems (P2 million); health station (P1.5 million); and livelihood projects (P1.5 million). SOVEREIGNPH