BACOLOD CITY – A top official of the Philippine Army has lauded the Barangay Development Program (BDP) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) as a means to put a stop to the influence of communist-terrorist groups in Negros Island.
“The realization of the BDP manifests the sincerity of the government to end the decades-long insurgency in Negros. This is what the NTF-ELCAC is doing,” Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (ID), said in a statement on Tuesday.
Arevalo, who was commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade based in Murcia, Negros Occidental until December 2019, now oversees the operations of brigade units and line battalions deployed across Western and Central Visayas.
He cited the development in Escalante City, Negros Occidental, where seven insurgency-cleared villages, received PHP20.695 million worth of farm tractors from the BDP on Monday.
During the turn-over rites, Mayor Melecio Yap Jr. acknowledged the efforts of the Army troops in the fight against insurgency in northern Negros as he urged his constituents to do their part by actively participating in the government campaign.
He earlier said the “peace-loving people” of Escalante “highly-commend” the efforts of the NTF-ELCAC in the anti-insurgency campaign and the implementation of programs such as the BDP.
In Negros Occidental, there are 26 villages cleared from the influence of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
All these villages, including one in this capital city, are listed under the Local Government Support Fund-Support to Barangay Development Program. Majority or 14 barangays are in Escalante.
The BDP allocates a PHP20-million fund for each insurgency-cleared village for the implementation of various development and rehabilitation projects in these former conflict-prone communities.
BDP, with the end goal of bringing development to former conflict-prone communities, has a total of PHP16.44 billion allocated funding to rehabilitate and develop 822 barangays formerly established as guerilla fronts of the CPP-NPA.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
Its political wing, the NDF, has also been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Philippines’ Anti-Terrorism Council last July. (PNA)