CAMP GERONA, Murcia, Negros Occidental – Talk about turning swords into plowshares.
The National Task Force in Ending Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) through the Support to Barangay Development Program turned-over farm tractors to seven barangay beneficiaries in Escalante City that the military declared free or “cleared” of Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs).
The latest turnover was last 11 October 2021 in a launching ceremony attended by the Army, Philppine National Police, and LGUs at the Escalante Gymnasium, Escalante City, Negros Occidental.
The Local Task Force ELCAC of Escalante City with the support of the Negros Army headed by 303rd Infantry Brigade and 79th Infantry Battalion, DILG Escalante City and PNP launched the SBDP and turned over farm tractors to seven villages namely: Paitan (two farm tractors); Dian-ay (two farm Tractors); Mabini (one Farm Tractor); Libertad (one Farm Tractor); Pinapugasan (one Farm Tractor); Udtungan (one Farm Tractor); and Washington (one Farm Tractor).
Based on the results of the Retooled Community Support Program, the needs of the concerned barangays were identified and the BDPs intended to respond to these needs such as the provision of farm-to-market roads, health centers, electrification, water and sanitation facilities, schools, and livelihood projects.
Fatima R Daiz, DILG North Cluster Head, Negros Occidental said in her message, “It is a convergence mechanism for local government to come together, identify issues and government interventions particularly at the barangay level based on empowerment framework that aims people’s ability to organize themselves and re-development.
We are appreciative of the efforts that you are doing in your Barangay Development Plan. In that manner, the National Government Agencies will have the best document for their interventions especially in the peace-building process,” she added.
Escalante City Mayor Melecio Yap Jr., expressed his gratitude and excitement for the launching and implementation of the BDP.
In his message, he said, “The National Government, the Philippine Army, and the Armed Forces have done their share. If we have observed, our town is already peaceful, we cannot win this war against insurgency, in a bloody war alone, we will bring government closer to the people but we will involve that people in our governance,” he said, adding, “I can assure you, we are working overnight to serve you all our beloved Escalantehanon and I am proud to announce that the concreting projects of NTF ELCAC in our hinterland barangays are now ongoing. We will commit that we will pursue this NTF-ELCAC projects of our government no matter what happens.”
Village chief and ABC President Richard Pios Sr., of Brgy Paitan, Escalante City extended his gratitude to the Task Force ELCAC Support to Barangay Development Program by saying, “We are very much thankful to the National Government’s NTF ELCAC program headed by our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte who piloted this NTF ELCAC RCSP and SBDP programs together with Philippine Army, DILG and all other government agencies. We are very happy that insurgency is gradually solved so that we can finally achieve lasting peace and development in our barangay,” he added.
Brigadier General Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade Commander said, “The event marked the beginning of the roll-out of the BDPs in the province cleared of CPP-NPA-NDF affectation. These projects would bring benefits not only to the recipient barangays but also to the entire province in general. Your Army in Negros together with the Provincial Government Units are here to support and to promote peace and order in the province and gratefully take our part as a member of this SBDP to capacitate the Geographically Displaced and Isolated Areas (GIDA) and eradicate the insurgency of rebels in Negros Island,” BGen Pasaporte added.