Following recent breakthroughs in peace and security, officials in Davao Oriental announced Friday that the province is getting closer to its objective of being declared insurgency-free.
Governor Nelson Dayanghirang said in a statement that he was delighted to see that the province’s efforts and sacrifices in the fight against the communist insurgency are finally paying off.
“It has been a long time that we had suffered from the horrors of the armed conflict, but today we are happy that we are now nearing our goal of achieving genuine peace in the province,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Army’s 701st Brigade commander, Col. Oliver Maguiling, said military efforts on “quick impact programs” helped the province achieve peace and prosperity, particularly in erstwhile communist-influenced areas in the hinterlands.
The provincial government’s “Serbisyo” mobile program, also known as Nagkakakisang Lingkod-Bayan ng Davao Oriental Barangay Outreach Caravan (NLD-BOC), was one of the projects in which the Army took part. The program prioritizes social services and delivers government services to even the most remote towns.
The provincial administration is currently pushing the construction of more roads, water systems, school buildings, and other key infrastructure facilities in the communities, with the help of several national funding agencies.
Furthermore, additional essential infrastructure projects are now being implemented thanks to the influx of cash from the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
This year, the province received a P640 million allocation from the NTF-ELCAC for the Barangay Development Program (BDP), with P20 million set aside for each of the 32 barangays that were free of communist insurgents.
The BDP is a signature program of NTF-ELCAC with the purpose of bringing development to erstwhile conflict-prone communities. It is part of the government’s whole-of-nation approach to battling the CPP-NPA-NDF uprising in the countryside.
The program tries to eliminate the insurgency’s root causes, including poverty, disease, a lack of education and opportunities, and social injustice, in communities across the country that have been identified as being affected by communist ideology.
The BDP’s first mission is to restore and develop 822 barangays that were formerly used as guerilla fronts by the CPP-NPA-NDF in various parts of the country.
“With the overloading of projects, these communities could no longer find a reason to complain because the government is there delivering programs and services even to the most far-flung communities,” Dayanghirang said.
In the midst of it all, Dayanghirang praised the Army’s, police’s, and other agencies’ attempts to establish the elusive peace.
“Peace and development are our twin goals. We cannot have one without the other, so I am asking everyone to unite and help each other,” he said.