SENATOR Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday challenged the country’s security sector to better implement the programs and funds earmarked for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and not allow it to be “prostituted” and used for political ends.
Even though he has vigorously defended the budget and concept of the NTF-ELCAC as chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense, Lacson said its implementation has left him wanting, which is one reason why lawmakers have decided to slash the task force’s budget by P28-billion for 2022.
“But, alam niyo, ‘yung authorities… ‘Yung executive department particularly ‘yung security sector—‘yung PNP, AFP, pati ‘yung mga implementor, mga implementing agency—ipakita naman nila na maayos ang pag-implementa. Hindi ‘yung nahahaluan na ng pulitika,” the longtime public servant said.
“I won’t go into details ng mga sinasabi ko pero talagang hindi na… Parang sabihin nating prostituted na ‘yung implementation. So, pinag-aralan ito ng mga senador, nasa sa kanila ‘yung bola ngayon. Kung ipapangako nila, aayusin nila ‘yung implementation, mababalik ‘yung P28-billion na ‘yon. Kasi napakaganda ng concept,” the former PNP chief said.
“Ako, consistent ako, pero pagdating sa implementation doon nagkakaloko-loko. Maski lahat ng batas natin na ipinasa namin, implementation ang problema,” the veteran senator added.
He noted that he was defending NTF-ELCAC “to the bones” because as a former police officer, he understood how great a concept it was to empower the countryside and keep the communist or rebel elements from infiltrating the communities, especially in faraway areas.
“Alam ‘to ng mga dating kasama ko sa military, sa PNP, napakagandang concept. Kasi ‘pag hindi mo sinundan ng development o livelihood ‘yung cleared barangays, babalik at babalik ‘yung mga NPA. Kasi ‘yung mga naiwan doon, nandiyan na naman ‘yung fear factor, ‘yung mang-te-terrorize kaya mamamayani na naman,” Lacson said.
The presidential candidate said NTF-ELCAC has made a lot of headway against the communist movement, noting that in a recent Armed Forces of the Philippines briefing with the Senate, out of 200 guerilla fronts, only 43 are remaining.