Bong Go

Bong Go supports move to institutionalize NTF-ELCAC

September 23, 2022 People's Journal 90 views

SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go has expressed his support for the institutionalization of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), noting that it has been effective in addressing local insurgency and in restoring peace in conflict-riddled areas in the country.

“Ako naman suportado ko po ito, kung kailangang maisabatas, ma-institutionalize, suportado ko po ito. Pero nasa present administration na po ‘yan kung sasang-ayon po sila. Ako naman po, naging effective naman po ito,” said Go during an ambush interview after providing assistance to struggling residents in Malabon City.

Go argued that rather than just attempting to quell the insurgency, it is crucial to address its underlying causes by giving Filipinos a means of subsistence and enticing rebels to reintegrate into society, both of which NTF-ELCAC was successful in doing.

“Pero not limited only sa pagsugpo ng rebelyon. Ang gawin natin, palawakin po natin, aside from matigil ang rebelyon, bigyan natin ng pangkabuhayan kung sino po ang mga gustong bumalik na sa gobyerno,” said Go.

“Balik-loob sa gobyerno po, palakasin pa po natin para maengganyo po sila na ‘wag na kayong manatili sa bundok at nandidito po ang buhay sa bayan,” he added.

Go continued to commend the task force, stating that it had successfully carried out its tasks and purpose, saying, “Naging successful po ang (NTF-)ELCAC. Remember more than 40,000 barangay sa buong Pilipinas, hindi po kayang bigyan ng pondo ‘yan ng national government. Marami pong nakaramdam na they were neglected.”

“Ngayon, nu’ng dumating ang (NTF-)ELCAC, nagkaroon sila ng pag-asa. Isipin n’yo, from PhP4 million to PhP20 million per barangay ‘yung proyekto. ‘Yung ibang barangay diyan halos walang isang milyon ang income,” noted Go.

In 2018, President Duterte signed Executive Order No. 70 which institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach to attaining inclusive and sustainable peace. The order also directed the adoption of a National Peace Framework to ensure the harmonized and synchronized delivery of services in conflict-affected and vulnerable areas as well as provided for the creation of the NTF-ELCAC.

According to EO 70, the whole-of-nation approach addresses the root causes of insurgencies, internal disturbances and tensions, and other armed conflicts and threats by prioritizing and harmonizing the delivery of basic services and social development packages by the government.

It also includes facilitating societal inclusivity, and ensuring active participation of all sectors of the society in attaining the country’s peace agenda.

The government agencies involved in the NTF-ELCAC provide assistance through various programs dedicated to help NTF-ELCAC achieve its target goals. One of which is the Department of Social Welfare and Development wherein it provides assistance through cash grants to former rebels.

The Sustainable Livelihood Program’s (SLP) Livelihood Settlement Grant (LSG) of the agency, in support of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government, aims to provide financial aid to such individuals so that they can become productive members of their communities.

“Talagang na-e-engganyo sila. So, nagdadalawang-isip po, na i-incentivize sila, ma-e-engganyo ang mga barangay na tumulong na lang po sa gobyerno. Usually po ito ang mga barangay na sila po ang pinupuntahan, naii-infiltrate ng Left kasi sila po ‘yung medyo naiiwan,” he added.

Meanwhile, Go refused to comment on the ruling of the Manila Regional Trial Court to junk the petition filed by the Department of Justice in 2018 to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army as a terrorist group. But he added that government lawyers will examine the petition in more detail so they could determine the best course of action.

“No comment muna ako ukol diyan sa bagay na ‘yan. Unang-una nasa korte naman po s’ya. So ayoko munang magbigay ng komento. Gaya ng sinabi n’yo pag-aaralan po ito ng mga abogado ng gobyerno kung ano po ang kanilang magiging sagot tungkol dito. Pero for the meantime, no comment muna ako,” said Go.

As for him, Go asserted that any individual or group who terrorizes the populace may be deemed a terrorist. “Ako naman, kapag naghasik ka ng lagim, so mako-consider ka nang terorista. Ibig sabihin, kung iba na ang ipinaglalaban mo ay maku-consider ka pong terorista.”

“Kung lagim na po ang inuuna mo, pananakit, pagpatay, paghasik ng lagim terorista ka talaga. ‘Yun po ang aking, my personal opinion about being tagged as terrorist,” he added.

To conclude, Go highlighted the detrimental repercussions of rebellion on society and urged Filipinos, especially rebel group members, to work toward unity rather than committing acts of violence against one another.

“Nasasaktan po kami ‘pag nauulila ang mga sundalo, maliliit pa ang kanilang mga anak, naiiwan wala nang ama. Kapag ang rebelde naman po ang namamatay, Pilipino rin po ang mga ‘yan, may mga anak rin po ‘yan. Kaya nasasaktan po ako kung ang Pilipino kapwa Pilipino ang nagpapatayan,” said Go.

“Hindi po ako nawawalan ng pag-asa, ang akin po dito sincerity at kunin po ang tiwala sa isa’t isa. So, sana po ay just be sincere,” he ended.