KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato – The Joint Regional Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (JRTF-ELCAC) XII paid tribute to its Chairperson and Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS), Secretary Isidro S. Lapeña, on April 29, 2020, at The Farm@Carpenter Hill in Koronadal City.

In a ceremony named JRTF-ELCAC XII: The Legacy, the Task Force presented its major accomplishments from its organization from June 2019 up to April 22, 2022. Among these were support to the establishment of key government offices providing basic services to the geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs) of the region, the massive implementation of various infrastructure projects under the Local Government Support Fund-Support to Barangay Development Program (LGSF-SBDP) in the target priority barangays, the conduct of Lokal Sebisyo Caravans by the Provincial Governments, the success of Project TALA that provided lights to the hinterlands and remote IP communities of the region, among others, that have led to the surrender of New Peoples’ Army (NPA) combatants and the dismantling of its two (2) guerilla fronts in the Region.

In her message as the Vice-Chairperson of the Regional Development Council (RDC) XII, Director Teresita Socorro C. Ramos of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) XII acknowledged and commended Secretary Lapeña for directing the Joint Regional Task Force every step of the way that led to where it is now. Director Ramos highlighted the CORDS’ marching orders to act immediately and not to allow COVID-19 to prevent the members of the Joint Regional Task Force from delivering its mandate to the people. She also thanked Secretary Lapeña for supporting the development initiatives of the RDC XII, in establishing government offices in the key strategic areas of the region that will provide convenience to the transacting public, such as the Pag-Ibig Fund in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, PhilHealth Express Offices in Midsayap, Cotabato and in Lebak, Sultan Kudarat; and GSIS Servicing Office in Koronadal City. Moreover, Director Ramos called Secretary Lapeña the godfather of peace, development, resiliency, and sustainability in the SOCCSKSARGEN Region.

For his part, Secretary Lapeña conveyed his gratitude to the members of the JRTF-ELCAC XII, however, he emphasized that there are still 2 remaining months that all agencies must hurdle to accomplish more and can deliver more services to the people. He likewise pointed out that on June 30, 2022, a new administration shall succeed President Rodrigo R. Duterte, and shall inherit a better Philippines in terms of its fight against communist insurgency. He instructed all members to continue and expedite all efforts as the Joint Regional Task Force is in a race not only against time but also with the propaganda and the counter-government efforts of the communist terrorist group (CTG).

Lastly, as the Chairperson of the JRTF-ELCAC XII, Secretary Lapeña commended all the member agencies, private sector representatives, and local government units that have worked hard through convergent efforts that led to the success of the Task Force for their noble, dedicated, and hard work in pursuit of the attainment of the objectives of Executive Order 70, series of 2018 of the President (Jal P. Octavio, NEDA XII-PFPD)