Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief, Lt. Gen. Andres Centino, clarified that the budget allocated for the Barangay Development Program (BDP) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) will not be used for security operations.
“The funds for the NTF ELCAC is actually the BDP, this is intended not for operations, not for security operations,” he said in an interview with CNN Philippines on Sunday night.
Under the BDP, communities cleared of New People’s Army influence and presence will be receiving five core programs worth PHP20 million per barangay which include farm-to-market roads, school buildings, water and sanitation systems, livelihood programs, and health stations.
Centino added that the AFP sent out teams to find problems with these affected areas to see the interventions needed.
These interventions are aimed at addressing the root causes of insurgency such as lack of development and poverty, among others.
“That’s why we proposed interventions in terms of development projects for instance, farm-to-market roads, irrigation system, daycare center, school buildings so these are development projects and in every affected barangays we have allocated actually PHP20 million per affected barangay,” he added.
Centino said there are still 43 active guerilla fronts but out of that number, 12 are ready or in the process of being dismantled.
“As of the time we have 43 but out of that number, there are about 12 who are already, to be dismantled and by, over the past months we have exponentially reduced their strength from 3,800 at the start of the year to about just about 3,000 today,” Centino said.