Bukidnon holds peace forum, vows full support to end armed conflict

MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon, May 26 (PIA) –Heeding the government’s call to finally end communist insurgency in the country, various sectors in Bukidnon joined in the peace and development forum recently at Kaamulan Folk Arts Theater, Malaybalay City.

Participated by more than 200 barangay captains and leaders; city and municipal planning and development officers; and representatives of local and national government agencies in the province, the Regional Development Council (RDC) 10’s chairman Bukidnon governor Jose Maria R. Zubiri led the delegation in discussing Executive Order No. 70 (EO 70)  and Convergence Areas for Peace and Development (CAPDev).

The workshop on “Validation of Needs” highlighted the forum by giving participants enough time to validate the programs, projects, and activities (PPAs) needed in their respective communities.

These PPAs, were earlier endorsed by RDC for inclusion in the 2020 National Budget. These were also included in the 25 Billion budget for conflict-affected areas in Bukidnon, which already earned RDC’s nod last March.

The event is in line with the operationalization of President Rodrigo Duterte’s EO 70 that institutionalizes a “whole-of-nation approach.”

The executive order created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) that leads all government’s move in ending the local communist rebellion.

Chaired by President Duterte himself, NTF-ELCAC’s mission is to ensure inter-agency convergence in project implementation to address causes of armed conflict at the local level. The task force works towards ensuring that social services, employment opportunities and improved quality of life should be spread out in areas experiencing clashes with communist rebels.

The CAPDev, on the other hand, is Region 10’s banner program to set EO 70 in motion.

This move aims to address the root causes of insurgency through focused, coordinated and sustained delivery of basic services and social development packages by the government in poor, conflict-affected and Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAs) in region 10.

Major General Franco Nemesio Gacal, commander of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, who also serves as chairperson of RTF-ELCAC technical working group in the region, said despite continuing successes of the operations by the security sector, some of the government’s attempt in stopping insurgency was in vain because of the lack of harmonization and synchronization of government plans and programs with civilian agencies. 

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Further, it failed to encourage the participation of all sectors of society, Gacal said.

“In effect, EO 70 shifts the traditional military-centric approach into a civilian-led approach in confronting the communist terrorist group.  Good governance is the key ingredient in the ‘whole-of-nation approach.

From our experience, the military solution should be just one of the many components in addressing the communist insurgency,” he added.

Likewise, 403rd Brigade Commander Col. Edgardo de Leon said the task force needs to continue discussing and defining some complexities in identifying and addressing the root causes of insurgency to help the government win the war versus communist terror groups. 

De Leon lauded Gov. Zubiri’s support which he said is crucial to the implementation of CAPDev programs and other peace and development efforts in the province and the entire region. 

“We are very optimistic that we can address the root causes of insurgency and other forms of conflict here in Bukidnon because we are finally on the same page,” De Leon said.

Gacal, on the other hand, said the activity was a prelude to the creation of Provincial Task Force-ELCAC, which, in turn, will spearhead the implementation of CAPDev in the province. 

“We are glad that the Whole-of-Nation Approach—along with our ‘Peaceful War’—is rapidly gaining traction among our stakeholders. We are now seeing positive results in our peace and development campaign because of the concerted efforts from the Regional, Provincial, Municipal and Barangay level.

We would like to commend Governor Zubiri, the mayors, barangay captains, LGU planning and development officers, and all regional line agencies for showing their commitment and cooperation to this endeavor,” Gacal added.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-10  regional director Mylah Faye Aurora Cariño, meanwhile, said this maiden event marked the beginning of a series of Peace and Development campaigns in three other provinces of Northern Mindanao namely Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte, and Misamis Oriental for the next few days. (DPAO 4th Infantry Division Philippine Army /RLRB, PIA Bukidnon)

Source: PIA Feed