SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go emphasized the need for a stronger whole-of-nation approach in addressing local insurgency following the call of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to the members of its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA) to intensify their recruitment, as NPA marks its 53rd founding anniversary on March 29.
In an interview after personally leading a relief activity in the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte on Wednesday, March 30, Go expressed his dismay over CPP’s message and renewed his appeal to the rebels to yield to the government and return to the folds of the law.
“Mayroon lang akong pakiusap, imbes na mag-recruit kayo gawin niyo na lang ay magbalik-loob na lang kayo sa gobyerno. Mayroon namang programa si Presidente (Rodrigo) Duterte ang ELCAC, tulong ng mga barangay para ma-encourage ang mga barangay na dumami pa ang mga barangay na ma-insentibo. So ako diyan as a Senator, tutulong ako para sa ikaayos ng lahat, peace ang sagot ko,” Go stressed.
In 2018, Executive Order No. 70 was signed by President Duterte creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). It institutionalizes the whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace by creating the task force and adopting a National Peace Framework.
The whole-of-nation approach under the said EO addresses the root causes of insurgencies, internal disturbances and tensions, and other armed conflicts and threats in the country by focusing on the efficient delivery of basic services and social development packages by the government.
Meanwhile, concerned agencies involved in the task force are providing the necessary assistance through various programs dedicated to help NTF-ELCAC achieve its goals. One of which is the Sustainable Livelihood Program by the Department of Social Welfare and Development which provides livelihood assistance grants to former rebels and helps them become productive members of their communities.
“Alam niyo, matagal na itong problema sa NPA sa insurgency. Fifty years na wala paring nangyayari. Mayroon tayong programa sa gobyerno na magbalik loob sa gobyerno, tutulungan kayo ng gobyerno bibigyan kayo ng pabahay at livelihood. Puntahan niyo lang kami,” the senator encouraged.
Last December, Go also pushed to increase the budget of NTF-ELCAC to ensure that the task force shall have the necessary funds to assist more conflict-affected areas nationwide.
Expressing his frustration over unnecessary killings among Filipinos, Go reiterated his appeal to CPP-NPA members to peacefully surrender and rebuild their lives instead of recruiting more members, especially the youth, to join the armed struggle.
“Mag-usap na lang tayo, ayaw ko ng patayan. Sino ba ang gustong magpatayan? Pilipino laban sa Pilipino, malungkot diyan sa bukid. Mga kababayan ko, huwag na kayong magdagdag. Imbes na mag-recruit kayo, pumunta na lang kayo dito. Tumulong na lang tayo sa gobyerno,” urged Go.
“Kawawa ang mga Pilipino at kawawa ang inyong mga anak, dahil kung hanggang ngayon ganoon pa rin at giyera pa rin. Pilipino laban sa Pilipino, masakit ‘yon. At kung may mamatay na sundalo kawawa ang pamilya. ‘Pag may namatay na rebelde, kawawa ang pamilya at Pilipino pa rin sila,” he lamented.