By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang called on the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) to provide solutions to causes of conflict while demonstrating good governance to ensure effective civilian anti-insurgency measures.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar (PCOO / FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar made the statement as the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) Region 10 convened this week to align national and local government projects that address insurgency through grassroots engagements.

According to Andanar, who is also the Cabinet representative for Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) in Region 10, it was the responsibility of everyone to address the factors that result to the conflict in the region.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“Let us persevere. Demonstrate good governance as a core value at all levels to regain the people’s trust and to draw hope,” he continued.

According to the Palace official, the government was dead serious in battling the Communist insurgency, a problem he described as the biggest peace spoiler in the country.

“We shall quell local Communism at all costs,” he said.

Andanar also said that 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.

The CORDS initiative complements the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (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.

The NTF-ELCAC was created by President Duterte in December 2018 through Executive Order No. 70 which institutionalizes the “whole-of-nation approach” wherein local government units and members of the community can initiate localized peace engagements with the communist insurgents. (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)