Tacloban City - The Regional Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) is one of the most active regional task forces in the country, according to National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.
Esperon, who is also the National Task Force -ELCAC Vice Chairperson, met with the heads of the various RTF-ELCAC clusters recently at the DILG Region 8 Training Center here. With him was Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario of the Department of Human Settlement and Urban Development, the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Eastern Visayas.
Both Esperon and Del Rosario lauded the EV Regional Task Force for being among the most active in the country with its organization of all six provincial Task Forces and with activities presently focusing on municipalities and barangays.
The DILG Region 8 serves as Secretariat of the RTF-ELCAC in the region.
During the meeting, Esperon revealed that the President has approved in principle the budget for projects like water system; barangay centers; school repairs; livelihood program support; fishery; road opening, and livestocks and farm crops in insurgency-threatened or affected barangays.
It was emphasized in the meeting that to earn the confidence of the public, government must properly observe procurement procedures, fully implement and follow through on ELCAC cluster plans and commitments, and synchronize actions from the national down to the barangay levels.
The Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) to be led by LGUs will be the primary vehicle to identify and address gut issues that fuel the insurgency, while a strengthened monitoring system that entails submission of daily reports to the President as well as assessment by the Regional Monitoring Committee (RMC) of the Regional Development Council (RDC) will serve to minimize wastage and graft.
DILG-8 Regional Director Artemio B. Caneja, in his Welcome Remarks, said the meeting would serve as input for implementation of EO 70 by the RTF-ELCAC clusters. Regional Director Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu of the Philippine Information Agency moderated an ensuing media briefing. Likewise present were Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone, RPOC-8 Chairperson; Gov. Edwin Ongchuan of Northern Samar; Maj. Gen. Pio Dinoso, commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Division; NEDA OIC-Regional Director Meylene Rosales and heads/representatives of RTF-ELCAC clusters.
As an indication that the campaign to end insurgency is gaining ground, President Rodrigo Duterte, assisted by DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Ano later in the day turned over to 262 former rebels some 6.258 Million Pesos in financial assistance under the Enhanced Comprehensive Integration Program (ECLIP) in San Isidro town in Leyte.