ELCAC Infra Projects to Pave Way in Ending Insurgency

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Patag, Cagayan de Oro City – “The road to peace is the road itself”. The infrastructure projects of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF ELCAC) under the Local Government Support Fund – Support to Barangay Development Program (LGSF-SBDP) will pave the way in ending insurgency in Caraga region.

Various stakeholders including the local populace were present during the Caraga’s RTF ELCAC Groundbreaking Ceremonies of the two (2) road projects in Brgy Villa Ondayon, Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur and Sitio Simowao (KM9), Brgy Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur on July 15 and 16, respectively.

A kilometer of local access road from Purok 4 to Sitio Ibo-ibo, Brgy Villa Ondayon in Bayugan City, ADS will be upgraded while a 1.2 kilometer Farm-to-Market Road from Sitio Simowao (KM9) to Purok 7 of Brgy Diatagon in the Municipality of Lianga, SDS will be constructed. Each project will be worth 20M pesos.

Brgy Captains Hon. Mercidita Maluenda and Hon. Renegio B. Pareja of Brgy Villa Ondayon and Brgy Diatagon, respectively, thanked their provincial government, ELCAC Officials, and the 65th Infantry Battalion and 3rd Special Forces Battalion under the 401st Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army for recommending the projects in their barangays that were once influenced by the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG).

Said Brgy Officials claimed that together with their constituents, they were restrained by the CTG to give their consent and approval for any government projects out of fear. With the Army’s persistence to drive away the CPP-NPA Terrorist (CNT), the road projects they longed for will be finally realized and relief overwhelmed them as it will greatly benefit their communities as their farm products will now be easily transported.

For her part, Director Lilibeth T. Famacion, the Chairperson of RTF ELCAC Technical Working Group and Regional Director of DILG Caraga, disclosed that 191 recipient barangays with 357 priority projects that were cleared from CTG influence in Caraga region are provided with 20M pesos each for a total of 3.82 Billion pesos allocated as fund support to the various infrastructure projects and social services. “Bayugan City has 9 recipient Brgys out of the 45 recipient barangays in Agusan del Sur with 78 total priority projects worth 900M pesos while in Surigao del Sur, there are 46 recipient barangays with 60 priority infrastructure projects worth P900M pesos as part of sustaining the initiative towards peace and development in the barangays”, she added.

Meanwhile, Governors Pimentel and Cane Jr. are one in saying that the BDP under the NTF ELCAC budget will address the commonly exploited issues utilized by the CTG to recruit the local populace. They said that the local government units, national and local government agencies and other stakeholders must be committed and must intensify its support on this endeavor to sustain the program.

On the other hand, Brigadier General Hambala, 401st Infantry Brigade Commander, revealed that barangays Villa Ondayon and Diatagon are former strongholds of the CTG wherein influence of their Sectoral Front Organizations are extensive. “We were able to make the people understand that the Army together with other partner agencies are in their communities to promote their welfare and help them improve their lives. We believe that the bottom line of this problem is governance. Who will govern best could win the support of the people. Hence, the continuous progress of the communities brought by the implementation of ELCAC projects will naturally prevent the people from joining the CTG”.

In his statement, Major General Romeo S Brawner Jr, Commander of the 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division, said that the whole Diamond troopers will continue to support the RTF ELCAC in order to improve the well-being of the people and protect them from the CNTs.

“We thank our partner agencies in Caraga region for their active involvement in ending the communist armed conflict in this part of the country. We shall continue to clear remaining barangays from CTG influence thru our CSP so that the peace and development projects under the RTF ELCAC’s LGSF-SBDP program will be delivered to the conflict affected areas and geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas to pave the way in ending insurgency”, MGen Brawner Jr said.

Brawner Jr added that the Whole of Nation Approach (WNA) is working in Northern Mindanao and Caraga region. The WNA he said is not just about burden sharing, it’s about understanding that peace and order is a shared responsibility.

In attendance during the separate ground breaking ceremonies were Provincial Governors and Implementing Unit Heads of SBDP Projects of Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur, Hon. Santiago B. Cane Jr. and Hon. Alexander T. Pimentel, respectively; Municipal and City Mayors, Hon. Kirk A. Asis of Bayugan and Hon. Novelita M Sarmen of Lianga; Assistant Director Rene V. Valera, Concurrent Director EO70 Project Management Office; and Brigadier General Allan D Hambala, 401st Brigade Commander together with the Officials of PLGU Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur and the DILG Provincial and Regional Offices facilitating the events.

The Barangay Development Program is the government’s priority program to usher development and deliver basic services in conflict affected barangays that lagged due to the terror caused by the CNTs.

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