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          RTF-ELCAC MEETING. Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin M. Andanar presides over the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) Meeting in Cagayan de Oro City on Tuesday (Sept. 10, 2019). Andanar called on local officials of Northern Mindanao to address the causes of conflict. (PCOO photo)

          CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Tuesday called on the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) to provide solutions to the causes of conflict while demonstrating good governance to ensure effective civilian anti-insurgency measures.

          “It is the responsibility therefore of all levels of government -- national, regional, provincial, highly-urbanized cities, component cities, and municipalities, down to the barangays, to solve and provide solutions to the causes of conflict, dissent, and unrest,” Andanar said as he convened the RTF-ELCAC Region 10 meeting here.

          Andanar is the representative of Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Northern Mindanao (Region 10).

          “With the creation of the local task forces on ELCAC, we hope to empower communities and local constituents to participate in developing a culture of peace so that everyone has ownership of the process and result,” he added.

          Andanar encouraged the local officials to persevere and demonstrate good governance “as a core value at all levels to regain the people’s trust and to draw hope”.

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          The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) chief said addressing insurgency in the country should not rely on military efforts alone.

          “We are shifting our viewpoint from treating local communist armed conflict as purely military and security concern, to being more symptomatic element deeply-rooted issues needing to be addressed immediately,” he said.

          During the meeting, Andanar and local leaders have discussed updates on Region 10 projects in priority areas, as well as corresponding action plans.

          The implementation of the projects under Convergence Areas for Peace and Development (CAPDev), the task force’s banner program, has also been discussed during the RTF-ELCAC meeting.

          CAPDev projects are closely monitored in cluster areas of Mt. Balatucan Range, Mt. Mangabon Odiongan Complex, Saldab and Kalabugao Plains, Pantaron and Umayam Complex, Salug Valley, Gamot-Dumasilag Complex, Mt. Kitanglad Range, Mt. Kalatungan Range, West Bukidnon Plateau, Iligan-CDO Tributaries, Mt. Malindang, Mt. Ampiro, Gadungan Mountain Range, Mt. Peurai Complex, Maigo-Tangcal-Magsaysay Tributaries, and Salvador-Nunungan Tributaries.

          CAPDev aims to promote the establishment of peace and development while empowering communities in the priority focus areas through peace-building and reconciliation, socio-economic transformation, good governance, and institution building.

          The program espouses a focused, coordinated, and sustained delivery of the government’s basic services as well as social development packages in poor, conflict-affected, and geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas in the region.

          Meanwhile, Undersecretary Allen Capuyan, executive director of the National Task Force-ELCAC National Secretariat, highlighted the importance of the RTF-ELCAC during the meeting.

          "If there’s something I so desired to articulate in this gathering is [that] the next three years is so very, very important. This could be the moment that we should not miss because we have a President that has a strong political will and very popular. He tackled the insurgency problem head-on. It may not happen again,” he added.

          Capuyan, who also chairs the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, said indigenous peoples are among the most vulnerable sectors to be considered in ending local communist insurgency.

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          These programs are in line with the creation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), created by President Rodrigo Duterte in December 2018 through Executive Order No. 70.

          The task force seeks to institutionalize the “whole-of-nation approach” wherein local government units and members of the community can initiate “localized peace engagements” with the communist insurgents.

          The CORDS initiative complements the NTF-ELCAC, as Cabinet members are given particular regions to facilitate peace, development and security efforts between regional levels of government and national agencies.

          “We aspire to achieve empowered peace-promoting LGUs that have a robust economy yet having full authority in their territorial jurisdiction, hence, sustaining peace and development in their area of responsibilities as we reach 2022,” Andanar said.

          Northern Mindanao region is composed of composed five provinces -- Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Bukidnon, Camiguin and Lanao del Norte and nine cities -- Cagayan de Oro, Gingoog, El Salvador, Ozamiz, Tangub, Oroquieta, Malaybalay, Valencia, and Iligan. (PR)


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