NTF-ELCAC’s farm-to-market road projects launched in 3 insurgency-cleared villages in Negros Occidental

Three communities in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, that have been cleared of insurgents will soon have better access roads for transferring their farm produce to the city main.

On Tuesday, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) began concreting farm-to-market road projects in the mountain barangays of Codcod, Nataban, and Quezon, which are funded via the Barangay Development Program (BDP).

Following separate groundbreaking rites led by city officials, including Mayor Renato Gustilo and First District Rep. Gerardo Valmayor Jr., as well as the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), army, police, and barangay officials, the northern Negros city and the Philippine Army announced these developments on Wednesday.

In his message, Gustilo thanked the national government’s efforts in President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 70, which established the NTF-ELCAC.

“With the help of the provincial government and Congressman Valmayor, these projects will soon be realized to give the farmers ease of movement and transport of their products to the city,” he said.

He also underscored the responsibility of barangay officials to uphold loyalty to the government and keep their places free from the influence of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

Construction on the road projects will begin in the first week of December, according to Danille Marie Osorio, DILG’s local government operations officer in San Carlos City.

She stated that these will provide communities with better economic opportunities and make it easier for them to move their farm products directly to market.

In Barangay Codcod, the road concreting will cover Sitios Cabagtasan, Natuyay and Bedio; Barangay Nataban, from Nataban proper to Binone Elementary School; and Barangay Quezon, from Sitio Alinga-ob to Balabag Elementary School.

The barangays identified farm-to-market road improvements to be supported by the BDP’s P20-million budget provided to each community free of the CPP-NPA’s influence.

According to Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, the completion of the BDP projects will improve the livelihood of the people in these barangays and aid in the overall resolution of the conflict.

“This is a solid proof that our government is sincere in its commitment to bring its services closer to the people. As a partner in this endeavor, your Army in Negros will continue to provide security and monitoring of the ongoing BDP projects to ensure unhampered construction,” he added.

Roberto Tuting, the head of Quezon village, informed the San Carlos City TF-ELCAC that they will remain loyal to the government and fight insurgency in their town.

“We pledge our support in protecting this project for the benefit of all the residents of Barangay Quezon. We hope and pray that NTF-ELCAC program will continue to be funded by the national government. This gives far-flung barangays a chance to have concrete access roads and other projects,” he added.

Five barangays in San Carlos City have been declared insurgency-free. Buluangan and Guadalupe are the other two.

The BDP is the NTF-ELCAC’s hallmark program, with the ultimate goal of bringing development to previously conflict-prone communities.

The Local Government Support Fund-Support to Barangay Development Program has awarded P20 million to each of the insurgency-free communities.

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