Following the creation of a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is urging the country’s 81 provinces “to do their share in bringing local insurgency to its conclusion” by organizing their respective task force against insurgency.
“With no less than President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself taking the role as National Task Force Chairperson, provincial governments should follow his lead by taking more active and decisive actions to counter communist terrorist groups through the creation of a provincial task force,” says Año.
The DILG Chief says local government units (LGUs), including the provinces, play a key role in wiping out the decades-old local communist problem because “they are more grounded on the societal issues in their localities which are being exploited by communist terrorist groups to influence locals to take up arms against the government.”
“Putting an end to insurgency does not only require a military solution because this will address only one facet of the issue. We should therefore work together and put our acts together as one nation -- starting from the provinces, cities, towns and barangays -- to lick the insurgency problem,” he says.
According to Año, the primary responsibility of the provincial task force is to harmonize and optimize government efforts and resources at the provincial level to address the root causes of insurgency and attain sustainable peace and development.
In December last year, President Duterte signed Executive Order No. 70 which institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach in dealing with insurgency through the creation of National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
Kudos to Cavite
The DILG Secretary cites the province of Cavite for being the first one to organize a Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) through a resolution approved by the Provincial Peace and Order Council last March 8 in Trece Martires City.
“Congratulations to the whole province of Cavite for your commitment to totally wipe out the local communist problem in your area. I am confident that with the provincial task force, your province will be insurgency-free enduring continued peace and development,” says Año.
The Provincial Task Force will be headed by Governor Jesus Crispin Remulla as chairman. He will be assisted by Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr, commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade, and Police Col. William Segun, director of Cavite Police Provincial Office, as co-chairmen.
Last December 4, 2018, Cavite was also declared as a province with Stable Internal Peace and Security (SIPS), the first to be given such a distinction across the country, which can only be attained if no NPA activity has been recorded for at least a year.
Relatedly, CALABARZON became the first region in the country to create a Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) during the joint Regional Development Council and Regional Peace and Order Council meeting in Calamba City on February 26.