Bong Go to ensure adequate funding, support for conflict-affected communities

November 16, 2021 People's Tonight 86 views

Opposes NTF-ELCAC 2022 budget cuts

SENATOR and Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance Christopher “Bong” Go assured he would not support any cuts in the budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict due to the increasingly central role it plays in ending the insurgency in the country.

He strongly reaffirmed his support for the NTF-ELCAC, saying that the momentum its various programs and projects have generated in addressing the root causes of the insurgency, such as poverty and social exclusion, must not be lost and should be maintained.

“Hindi po ako pabor sa pagbawas ng budget ng NTF-ELCAC dahil masasayang lang ang nagawa ng gobyerno sa pagpapanatili ng kapayapaan sa ating bansa,” said Go.

“Ako ay lubos na naniniwala sa NTF-ELCAC at sa anti-insurgency campaign nito. Now is not the right time to make such a drastic move considering that the government’s campaign to end armed conflict is gaining momentum,” he stressed.

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

To help it achieve its goals, various partner agencies provide assistance through programs dedicated to helping the NTF-ELCAC, such as the Livelihood Settlement Grant of the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development which offers financial aid to former rebels to help their reintegration so they can become productive members of their communities.

“Sa aking pag-iikot sa bansa, nasaksihan ko mismo kung paano nakatulong ang NTF-ELCAC sa ating mga kapatid na Pilipino na nais magbalik loob sa ating lipunan. Bukod dito, nakakatulong din ang programang ito sa pagpondo ng barangay development lalo na sa mga malalayong lugar, upang hikayatin ang ating mga kababayan na huwag mamundok,” continued Go.

In his own capacity, the lawmaker has extended aid and support to hundreds of former rebels in conflict-affected communities in Bohol, Bukidnon, Leyte Davao Oriental, Samar and Zamboanga del Sur, among others. The beneficiaries were part of the Barangay Development Program of the NTF-ELCAC and Retooled Community Support Program of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

On this note, Go affirmed the Duterte Administration’s commitment to helping former rebels who wish to start anew. He appealed to the Senate to restore the budget of the NTF-ELEC to ensure all returning rebels have the support they need to improve their lives and be productive members of mainstream society.

“Napakasakit mabalitaan sa mga pahayagan na nagkakapatayan ang Pilipino laban sa kapwa Pilipino. Kaya naman nananawagan ako sa aking mga kasamahan sa Senado na kung maaari ay ibalik ang budget ng NTF-ELCAC para naman hindi masayang ang pinaghirapan ni Pangulong Duterte sa pagbigay sa atin ang ligtas at komportableng pamumuhay,” he appealed.

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