By Chito Chavez
Following the creation of a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urged the country’s 81 provinces to form their own task force against insurgency.
“With no less than President Duterte himself taking the role as National Task Force Chairperson, provincial governments should follow his lead by taking more active and decisive actions to counter communist terrorist groups through the creation of a provincial task force,” said DILG Secretary Eduardo Año.
Año stressed local government units (LGUs), including the provinces, play a key role in ending the decades-old local insurgency problem because “they are more grounded on the societal issues in their localities which are being exploited by communist terrorist groups to influence locals to take up arms against the government.”
“Putting an end to insurgency does not only require a military solution because this will address only one facet of the issue. We should therefore work together and put our acts together as one nation — starting from the provinces, cities, towns and barangays — to lick the insurgency problem,” he said.
Last December, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 70 which institutionalized a national approach in dealing with the insurgency.
Cavite is the first province to organize such a task force through a resolution approved by the Provincial Peace and Order Council last March 8.
“Congratulations to the whole province of Cavite for your commitment to totally wipe out the local communist problem in your area. I am confident that with the provincial task force, your province will be insurgency-free enduring continued peace and development,” said Año.
The Cavite task force will be headed by Gov. Jesus Crispin Remulla as chairman. Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., commander of the Army 202nd Infantry Brigade, and Cavite police chief William Segun are the co-chairmen.
Last December, Cavite was declared as a province with Stable Internal Peace and Security (SIPS), the first to be given such a distinction, which can only be earned if no communist rebel activity is recorded for at least a year.
Region 4-A also became the first region to create a Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC).
The task force was formed during the joint Regional Development Council and Regional Peace and Order Council meeting in Calamba City on Feb. 26.