The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) recognized Tuesday, June 1, the PDP-Laban party’s quest for the retention and future increase of funds for the Barangay Development Program (BDP), the government’s flagship project to end communist insurgency.
DILG Spokesman Jonathan Malaya said the PDP-Laban showed its “unprecedented avalanche of support” for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) when it adopted a resolution to support the retention of the P16.4-billion BDP fund that some senators want to be diverted to COVID-19 response due to accusation of red-tagging of its spokespersons.
The resolution was adopted during the PDP-Laban National Convention in Cebu on Monday.
“The ruling party PDP-Laban party’s uncompromising stand in support of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and its programs is an indication that more and more local government officials are joining the ever-growing ‘bandwagon’ and mounting calls to end the 53-year-old terrorist menace,’’ said Malaya, the NTF-ELCAC spokesperson for local government affairs, in a statement.
With the resolution, Malaya noted that “it is clear from all angles that the Task Force ELCAC and the BDP enjoy the widest support from local executives.”
“This has become a bandwagon that makes ending local communist armed conflict an election issue come the next polls. Surely, this will deal a big blow to the CTGs (communist terrorist groups) and their fronts’ relentless campaign to bedevil the NTF-ELCAC. With grassroots support, they will not succeed,” he said.
The resolution in support of ELCAC was unanimously passed by the more than 100 national council members that included Senators Ronald “Bato’’ de la Rosa, Senator Francis Tolentino, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, Secretaries Alfonso Cusi, Wendell Avisado, Sonny Dominguez, MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos, ULAP Chairman Presbiterio Velasco and other congressmen, city mayors, and governors.
The PDP Laban National Council meeting was chaired by party Vice Chairman Alfonso Cusi upon the directive of President Duterte.
For his part, Esperon, who is also NTF-ELCAC vice chairman, expressed elation over this “very positive development,” stressing that the BDP is now being felt and appreciated by the very people the program has intended to serve.
“We have seen the fact that 84 percent of all local government units (LGUs) in the country have declared the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) as persona non grata, meaning they are no longer welcome in any of these places. Now, with the PDP-Laban resolution, our resolve to pursue the mandates of NTF-ELCAC in achieving peace and development through ending senseless violence committed by these communist terrorists has been emboldened. We expect more officials to join this bandwagon and to support our peace and development initiatives,” Esperon stressed.
Earlier, Esperon said there are 518 barangays, 366 cities and municipalities, and 20 provinces that have passed their respective resolutions in support of the BDP.