More local government chief executives in Negros Occidental are supporting the approval of P19 billion worth of development projects, for insurgency-cleared barangays, as included in the budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), that is being opposed by militant lawmakers.
Insurgency-cleared barangays are entitled to receive P20 million worth of development funds.
Moises Padilla Mayor Ella Celestina Garcia-Yulo, who expressed her support to the passing of the budget, said her town is classified among the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas.
The passage of the P19 billion budget for projects will greatly aid their socio-economic development, especially to those barangays who have been cleared by the Philippine Army from local communists, she said.
The Philippine Army reported that they have cleared 76 insurgency-affected barangays in Negros Occidental, since last year, up to the third quarter of this year.
EB Magalona Mayor Marvin Malacon, Murcia Mayor Gerry Rojas, and Manapla Mayor Manuel Escalante also expressed their support to the passage of the budget, adding that it will boost the campaign of the government to achieve peace in Negros Occidental.
Cauayan Mayor John Rey Tabujara, who also supported the passing of the budget, said he also recognized the efforts and initiatives of the National Task Force-Ending Local Armed Communist Conflict by addressing the insurgency problem in his town, amid trying times and challenges.
Guihulngan City Mayor Carlo Jorge Joan Reyes said that TF-ELCAC has succeeded in many aspects, where previous peace efforts did not.
“We have now started reaping the benefits of its effectiveness in solving the communist armed conflict in Guihulngan City,” Reyes said.
“Thus, we express our strong support to the NTF-ELCAC proposed inclusion of Brgys, Baloogo, Binonohan, Hinakpan, Humay-humay, Imelda, Nagsaha, Platagasanon, Planas, Poblacion, Sandayao, Tacpao, Trinidad and Villegas,all in Guhulngan City. as recipients of development projects,” Reyes said.
Canlaon City Mayor Jose Chubasco Cardenas said the proposed P19 billion budget would eliminate the root causes of insurgency in communist-influenced barangays.
San Carlos City Mayor Renato Gustilo and Escalante City Mayor Melecio Yap also expressed their strong support to the passage of ELCAC budget.
Several remote barangays of Escalante City used to be hotbeds of insurgency in northern Negros, but some of them had already been declared insurgency-free by the 303rd Infantry Brigade.
“I am confident that our combined efforts can significantly contribute to the fulfillment of our common goals for poverty alleviation, economic productivity, equitable distribution of resources and benefits, and peaceful and environmentally sound community,” Yap said.*GPB