Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

More local government units (LGUs) have joined the administration in condemning the atrocities of the communist movement by declaring the terrorists and rebels as persona non grata in their respective localities.

(pna.gov.ph)

At the weekly virtual press briefing of the National Task Force to End Local Communists Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) on Thursday, Interior and Local Government Assistant Director Rene Valera revealed that 74 of the country’s 81 provinces already passed resolutions condemning the atrocities of these Communist groups and declared them as persona non grata.

Valera said other LGUs who have echoed their support to the whole of nation approach of the NTF-ELCAC and declared them as persona non grata are 26,353 barangays (villages), 1,436 municipalities, and 110 cities across the country.

The NTF-ELCAC Representative from the Local Government Empowerment Cluster, Basic Services Cluster, and Local Peace Engagement Cluster and Barangay Development Program (BDP) also said the LGUs in the 74 provinces were also given orientations on how to process the BDP, which is intended for 1,406 barangays for 2022.

Valera added that 1,403 villages have also undergone barangay development planning for these communities to choose their priority projects funded by the BDP.

“Convergence initiatives like pulong-pulong (village meeting) with local ELCAC task force, local peacebuilders dialogue,” Valera said, were also conducted to improve the lives of the residents of the barangays “without” the CPP-NPA-NDF.

On the other hand, Navy Capt. Ferdinand Buscato, Executive Director of the Task Force Balik Loob of NTF-ELCAC, reported that a total of 20,579 former rebels (FRs) have already surrendered and are now living a normal life with full support from the government.

Out of the 20,579 surrenderers nationwide, Buscato said 827 gave up in 2016; 741 in 2017; 7,719 in 2018; 2,638 in 2019; 2,080 in 2020, and 6,175 surrendered in 2021.

Buscato also said the NTF-ELCAC has assisted 25,942 FRs to study and graduate from the various courses of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to increase their capability of returning to normal lives and commune again with society.

“The difference in the number is that their (former rebels) relatives were included (in TESDA courses),” he explained, adding that a total of 4,865 FRs were given employment through TESDA.

Buscato, who is also a Representative of the NTF-ELCAC’s E-Clip (Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program) and Amnesty Cluster, said other member agencies of the task force also contributed greatly to the FRs return to the folds of the law.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), he said, has extended social protection and psychological help to a total of 13,085 FRs, while the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has assisted 3,229 FRs to gain employment and 7,321 more for its TUPAD (Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers) program.

He added that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has also given its share by providing livelihood assistance to 3,513 FRs. While the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has extended immediate assistance to 6,171 FRs.

The NTF-ELCAC in its entirety along with other government agencies that belong to the “whole-of-nation-approach” initiated no less than by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte had spent P92.460 million from 2018 to 2021 in helping FRs.

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