Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

The Senate has just weakened the program of the national government that seeks to end the decades-long problem of insurgency.

Agusan del Sur Governor Santiago Cane Jr., in a Facebook post on Saturday, said instead of infusing more funds into the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), senators chose to impair it by slashing the budget by P24 billion.

“I used to regard the Senate as a bastion of democracy until it crippled the most effective program ever implemented to sustain it – the ELCAC,” Cane posted.

Once approved, the Committee on Finance chaired by Senator Sonny Angara will grant the task force just P4 billion.

“The House of Representatives approved the budget but the Senate slashed it. Do you know more than the congressmen and congresswomen?” Cane asked partly in Filipino. “Not one of you thought of a solution to end the problem on insurgency.”

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 70 in December 2018, creating the NTF-ELCAC that employs a whole-of-nation approach to end communism and institute peace-building initiatives.

Cane said the President is “a servant leader who knows exactly what he is doing”.

“Supposedly, all programs of the government emanate from the legislative branch, but this ELCAC did not. This may be the reason why the majority of the senators agreed to cut down its budget for 2022 because they do not understand how important the program is to attain peace in the country,” Cane said partly in Filipino.

The governor also asked the senators to be certain with their decision as heads of local government units worked hard to facilitate the implementation of the programs and services of the NTF-ELCAC in the countryside.

A total of P3.04 billion worth of projects under the Barangay Development Program (BDP) of the NTF-ELCAC will be implemented in 191 villages in the Caraga Region.

It will involve 357 projects consisting of road construction, water, and other identified development projects.

Some P720 million allocation out of the total BDP budget for the region will go to Agusan del Sur for the implementation of 69 projects in 38 villages.

BDP, with the end goal of bringing development to former conflict-prone communities, gives P20 million each to insurgency-free villages for farm-to-market roads, classrooms, water, and sanitation systems, health stations, and other livelihood projects.

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