The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) expressed its support to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) following recent calls to cut the budget and defund the anti-insurgency task force.
In a statement on Wednesday, Nov. 17, TESDA said that it is “deeply concerned” with the lawmakers’ decision to reduce the task force’s budget.
“In the more than two and a half years that TESDA has led the NTF-ELCAC’s Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC), the agency, together with its cluster members and partners in the private sector, has provided scholarship to thousands of individuals to equip them for jobs or livelihood,” TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña said.
He added that most of their beneficiaries are former rebels and indigenous peoples. He also mentioned that they were able to light several communities in the country, mostly those in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas.
“We have organized communities to harness their potentials to engage in sustainable economic enterprises,” he stated.
“The NTF, with all its lines of effort, have successfully diminished the influence of communist terrorist groups in the Philippines,” he added.
Lapeña said that reducing the task force’s ability to continue its mission at this point in time will slow down the work of the government towards sustainable progress and peace and order.
He stated It will be the country’s citizens who will be bearing the impact of the decision, especially those in the remote and far-flung areas.