PCOO chief calls for patience in dealing with local insurgency

Published December 9, 2020, 12:43 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

A little more patience and compassion should be shown by public servants in carrying out programs that seek to address the local communist insurgency, according to Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar (PCOO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Andanar has reminded government officials and workers about their “ultimate purpose in life” to improve the plight of Filipinos especially in the face of the pandemic.

“I encourage everyone to be more patient, considerate, and caring to one another especially to the public we serve,” he said during a meeting of the Northern Mindanao Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) in Cagayan de Oro Monday.

“We have to create positive changes in our society especially in improving the lives of the least, the weak, the poor, and the unreachable, which I believe is our ultimate purpose in life,” he added.

Andanar said the nation has emerged “stronger and more resilient” after people have shown the “bayanihan spirit” in dealing with the pandemic. “While we were unprepared, with persistence and determination and the blessing of our Almighty, we have been able to address and continue to attend to the various consequences of COVID-19,” he said.

Among the programs tackled in the meeting were the creation of the Northern Mindanao Regional Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Action Plan and the updated Regional Development Investment Program 2017-2022.

In the meeting, the Department of Interior and Local Government-Region 10 reported the distribution of P12 million worth of financial aid to more than 240 rebel returnees as of Dec. 7. Additional funds have been requested by the regional office to boost the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) as more rebels reportedly have started to return to the fold of the law.

“A considerable number of surrenderees have already been provided with the necessary DILG-administered package of financial assistance,” DILG Regional Director Arnel Agabe said.

“Many lives have already been transformed from being wanted by the government or from being pursued by our government law enforcement agencies and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to being free again and now living with the hope that their aspirations will be realized,” he added.

In 2018, President Duterte formed the national task force to end the local communist armed conflict by implementing development and peace-building initiatives in conflict-hit areas. The strategy includes the delivery of basic services and social development packages in conflict-affected areas.

Peace talks between the government and the communist group broke down in 2017 after the President denounced the rebel atrocities particularly the killing of government troops. With the botched peace negotiations, Duterte recently ruled out the declaration of a holiday truce with the communist rebels, calling them “criminals.”