The National Security Adviser and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) vice chairperson Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said that the Barangay Development Program (BDP) of the said task force is assisting eight barangays in Palawan.
“Sa taon pong ito walong barangay sa lalawigan ng Palawan ang nagpapatupad ng mga BDP projects. Sa susunod na taon, mayroon pong 54 dito sa Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), 35 sa Palawan,” said Esperon during his visit to the Regional Task Force (RTF)-ELCAC 4-B in Puerto Princesa, Palawan last November 4.
According to Esperon, the BDP will help roughly 1,406 barangays from all across the country by 2022.
“Alam po ninyo iyong 1,406 na barangay ay inaprubahan na ni Pangulong Duterte noong bang Marso sa Tacloban at ipinalagay niya sa National Expenditure Program (NEP) sa halagang P28.1 billion. Kasi, P20 million per barangay,” he added.
BDP key projects like as farm-to-market roads, school buildings, water and sanitation systems, livelihood initiatives, and health stations would be funded using the P20 million given per barangay.
The League of Provinces of the Philippines and the League of Municipalities, according to Esperon, are behind this effort.
“Sinulatan nila ang Senado. Aprubado na ito sa House of Representatives,” he added.
He further stressed that the BDP is just one of Duterte’s major initiatives, which include free irrigation, an improved Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), ‘Build, Build, Build,’ free tuition, universal health care, anti-illegal drugs, anti-crime, anti-graft, and anti-corruption campaigns.
Esperon also praised the Palawan provincial government, led by Governor Jose Alvarez, for pushing development measures in the province before the NTF-ELCAC was established.
He was alluding to Alvarez’s Regional Peace and Order Council, which was the forerunner of the NTF-ELCAC in the province. With the aid of the 17 RTFs, the NTF-ELCAC has become stronger, according to Esperon.
“Kaya sa lakas ng NTF-ELCAC sa organisasyon at saka gawain, gusto lang natin ipaalam at ipaalala sa mga communist terrorists na nangangarap pa rin na magtatagumpay sila, nasa sa panahon ng 2016 hanggang 2021, mayroon nang 1,953 na nasawi sa labanan sa hanay nila,” he added.
Apart from battle losses, Esperon claims that the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) has resulted in the surrender of 3,844 New People’s Army (NPA) regulars and 19,000 mass-based supporters, militia, and underground mass organization members, as well as 2,573 firearms.
The neutralization of Jorge Madlos alias “Ka Oris,” who was slain in a confrontation in the hinterlands of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon last October 30, is another triumph for the administration, he claimed.
Madlos is also the leader of the NPA’s National Operations Command, which oversees the communist terrorists’ operations across the country.
“At kaya naman sa mga operations na ito, wala ng Guerilla Front sa Palawan eh. Inuubos ni Governor eh. At alam ko iyong dalawang Guerilla Front dito sa Mimaropa ay mahina na. Takbo nang takbo. Alam natin na nasa Mindoro sila ngayon baka bukas tatakbo na naman,” Esperon said.
The BDP is the NTF-ELCAC’s flagship program, with the ultimate goal of bringing development to former Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA conflict-affected and geographically isolated communities.