TARLAC CITY, Tarlac – The Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) sees the community support program (CSP) as the ultimate weapon in defeating the communist terrorists in Northern and Central Luzon.
Nolcom chief Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo B. Burgos Jr. said on Tuesday instead of focusing solely on the conventional military approach, they are working on addressing the issues that are being exploited by the communist rebels to deceive the community folk and gain their support through the CSP.
“CSP allows the government to send its message of peace and reconciliation to the communist rebels through their friends and families in the community. This gives us the opportunity to address their grievances while encouraging them to return to mainstream society,” Burgos said in a statement.
He also said CSP serves as a bridge that brings the government closer to the people in far-flung communities.
“With the CSP, we were able to assist government agencies in the delivery of needed basic services and in the implementation of different government programs and projects that will allow development to gain traction to those affected communities,” Burgos added.
CSP is a flagship program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) used to clear communities of NPA infestation while neutralizing the politics-military structure the rebels established in the villages. It involves immersion of personnel in the identified barangays and the conduct of various community engagements geared towards addressing the needs of the people.
Nolcom said for this year, 18 barangays in Northern and Central Luzon were each granted a PHP20-million development fund for several community development projects under the Barangay Development Program (BDP).
The BDP is a program of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) that is anchored on the CSP.
These 18 barangays were previously considered NPA-infested but were declared free from the clutches of the terrorist group by Nolcom.
Nolcom has recorded a total of 655 communist rebels who returned to the government fold and yielded a total of 273 firearms from Jan. 1, 2021 to date.
These are apart from the 780 members of NPA-affiliated mass organizations who withdrew their support from the terrorist group. (PNA)