PHOTO CAPTION: Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson (off center, front row) presides over the joint meeting of the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council and Provincial Peace and Order Council at the Capitol Social Hall earlier today, May 12./iNEWS (Photo: NegOcc Capitol PIO)
BACOLOD CITY–Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson announced on Wednesday that P500 million worth of infrastructure projects for 25 insurgency-cleared barangays in seven local government units in Negros Occidental are now ready for implementation.
Each insurgency-cleared barangay is receiving P20 million under the Support to Barangay Development Program (BDP) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), Lacson said.
He advised local chief executives of towns and cities, whose barangays are BDP recipients, to coordinate with Provincial Engineer Ernie Mapa to prepare their respective programs of work.
Fourteen of the 25 insurgency-cleared barangays are located in Escalante City, five in San Carlos City, two in Victorias City, and one each in EB Magalona, Himamaylan City, Manapla, and Cadiz City, a report from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) showed.
The Provincial Peace and Order Council of Negros Occidental, chaired by Lacson, unanimously approved a resolution supporting the sustainability of the NTF-ELCAC funds in the wake of some lawmakers’ moves re-allocate the P19 billion BDP funds amid red-tagging claims.
Col. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, who attended the joint PPOC-Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council meeting at the Provincial Capitol Social Hall in Bacolod City, clarified that the concerned LGUs, not the Philippine Army, will handle the BDP funds.
“We will only monitor the implementation of the projects,” Pasaporte stressed.
He also said that barangays declared as insurgency-free last year and next year will also receive similar infrastructure projects under NTF-ELCAC.
Escalante City Mayor Melecio Yap, in a statement, said that the programs implemented under NTF-ELCAC have brought about life-changing opportunities to former rebels as they reintegrate into society.
The Escalantehanons, being peace-loving people, commend the efforts made by the NTF-ELCAC in the anti-insurgency campaign and its programs such as the BDP, which will pave the way for the construction of roads, water systems, and facilities to cater to the needs of the people, Yap said.
Having initiated the Peace Summit, which hosted the biggest surrender of former rebels and NPA members, Yap said that Escalante City is not new to insurgency and violence.
“But that was in the past, and we do not want to experience it again,” he stated.
The move to defund the NTF-ELCAC will not only put a halt to already successful pro-active programs but will ultimately hamper government efforts to put an end to communism and insurgency, Yap added. (Eugene Y. Adiong/iNEWS-Bacolod/Negros Bureau)