KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato – The Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF ELCAC) XII, during its 11th Meeting on 30 October 2020, pushed for the implementation of the Barangay Development Program (BDP) for the socio-economic development of conflict and geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas of SOCCSKSARGEN, particularly those cleared from insurgency.

As reported by Director Maria Cecilia J. Pacis of the National Security Council (NSC), President Duterte approved the implementation of the BDP on January 6, 2020.  The BDP includes Programs, Projects and Activities (PPAs) under the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) and the 12 Lines of Efforts (LOEs).  The main goal of the BDP is to address social injustice, enhance agricultural production, and win the hearts and minds of the masses.

By 2021, BDP targets a total of 822 barangays all over the country, with an expected average budget of PhP20 Million per barangay.  Amidst the recent situation of the CoVID-19 pandemic, the NTF ELCAC Secretariat has communicated with President Duterte and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to approve the proposed PhP32.72 Billion BDP package.

For RTF ELCAC X, XI, XII and XIII, the total BDP budget is broken down as follows: PhP1.569 Billion for 62 cleared barangays, 5 for clearing and 153 threatened ones; PhP71.7Million for barangay health stations; PhP6.3 Million for 4Ps regional budget; and PhP524.5 Million for farm-to-market roads (FMRs).

National Security Adviser and NTF ELCAC Vice-Chair, Secretary Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr., in his keynote address, emphasized that the CoVID-19 is a clear and present danger.  However, there are long-term threats that we should neither relax on nor let our guards down –  the CPP/NPA, which is the no. 1 security threat that we need to eradicate.  He mentioned that the RTF ELCAC is hurting the CPP/NPA because the PPAs for all cleared barangays are provided with budget allocation up to the year 2022.  He enjoined all to see to it that the PPAs are carried out and not to lose grip of them.

In his opening message,  TESDA  Secretary Isidro S. Lapeña, RTF ELCAC XII Chair and CORDS for Region XII, also encouraged everyone to remain steadfast in contributing to the task force’s efforts to realize significant impact thru convergence and unity. He likewise reminded everyone of the regional development goals set to be achieved which include agricultural development, pursuing innovation, building resilient communities, accelerating infrastructure development, delivering efficiently justice and peace and order programs, and harmonizing land uses.

Other matters discussed include the actions taken by the Sultan Kudarat PTF ELCAC and DENR XII on the issue of overlapping and land tenurial instruments and the Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) issuances in Sultan Kudarat, highlights of the visit of NCIP Chairperson Allen A. Capuyan to Region XII, and reports featuring the best practices of the PTF ELCAC of Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato.    (Charmaine Lou D. Mapa-Vilches, NEDA XII).