NPA-cleared villages in Escalante City get P20-M farm equipment
BACOLOD CITY – Some seven insurgency-cleared villages in Escalante City, Negros Occidental received farm tractors as part of the projects under the Local Government Support Fund-Support to Barangay Development Program (LGSF-SBDP) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
The tractors were turned over to Barangays Paitan, Dian-ay, Mabini, Libertad, Pinapugasan, Udtongan, and Washington in rites held at the Escalante City Coliseum on Monday.
In a report on Tuesday, the Philippine Army said all the farm equipment amounted to PHP20.695 million, with Paitan and Dian-ay receiving two units of tractor each while the rest, one unit each.
Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade, said the event marked the roll-out of the Barangay Development Program (BDP) projects in the villages of Negros Occidental cleared of the influence of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and its political wing, National Democratic Front (NDF).
“We are here to promote peace and order and support the BDP to capacitate the geographically-displaced and isolated areas and eradicate the insurgency of rebels in Negros Island,” he added.
Lt. Col. J-jay Javines, commanding officer of 79th Infantry Battalion, welcomed the BDP as a response of the government to address the exploitation of the affected barangays by the CPP-NPA.
Association of Barangay Captains president Richardy Pios Sr., who hails from Barangay Paitan, said the provision of farm tractors would help farmers increase production and earn additional income.
“We are thankful to the NTF-ELCAC headed by our President Rodrigo Duterte. We are very happy that insurgency is gradually solved so that we can finally achieve lasting peace and development in our barangay,” he added.
Mayor Melecio Yap Jr. commended the Philippine Army for their efforts and underscored the importance of the active participation of the people in defeating insurgency.
“The Philippine Army and the Armed Forces have done their share. Now, it is our time to do our part. We will not only bring the government closer to the people, but we will also involve the people in our governance,” Yap said.
The turn-over ceremony was also attended by Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) executives Sharon Cadigal, city local government operation officer, and Fatima Daiz, head of DILG-Negros Occidental North Cluster.
The seven recipient-barangays are part of the 14 insurgency-cleared villages in Escalante.
Each insurgency-cleared barangay across the country has been allocated an assistance of PHP20 million under the BDP, which has a total of PHP16.44 billion allocated funding to rehabilitate and develop 822 barangays formerly established as guerilla fronts of the CPP-NPA.
The BDP is a hallmark program of the NTF-ELCAC with the end goal of bringing development to former conflict-prone communities.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
In July this year, the NDF has also been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Philippines' Anti-Terrorism Council.