Bancasi, Butuan City – The 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division lauded the launching of the Regional Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) in Caraga Region and vows full support during the Joint Caraga Regional Development Council (RDC)-Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) Full Councils Meeting yesterday, Wednesday, June 26, 2019 held at Balanghai Hotel and Convention Center, Bgy Doongon, Butuan City.
The Joint RDC-RPOC Full Councils Meeting was highlighted with the presence of Cabinet Secretary Alexie Karlo B Nograles, the designated Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for CARAGA Region as the Presiding Officer together with the Chairperson of RPOC 13, outgoing Governor of Agusan del Norte and Congresswoman-Elect Hon Maria Angelica Rosedell Amante-Matba, and the Vice-Chairperson of RDC 13, Atty Bonifacio Uy, Regional Director of NEDA 13. Also present were Co-Vice Chairperson of RPOC 13, Major General Franco Nemesio M Gacal, Commander of 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division and Ms Lilibeth Famacion, Regional Director of DILG 13, Head Secretariat of RPOC 13, Gov Santiago B Cane Jr, Agusan del Sur, Gov Arlene J Bag-ao, Dinagat Islands, Gov Dale B Corvera, Agusan del Norte, Gov Alexander T Pimentel, Surigao del Sur and Gov Francisco T Matugas, Surigao del Norte. Several Mayors headed by Mayor Ronnie Vicente Lagnada of Butuan City were also present during the activity.
The launching is the first of its kind and marked another milestone in the government’s effort to end local communist armed conflict especially that CARAGA is one of the priority regions of the National Task Force. As early as August 2018, NEDA 13, in partnership with 402nd Brigade and cognizant stakeholders, particularly the RPOC and RDC, spearheaded the formulation of the Peace and Development Zones (PDZs). The PDZ recognizes the whole of nation approach in addressing the root causes of insurgency and other forms of conflict and uses a conflict sensitivity lens in addressing prevalent issues in the Conflict Affected Areas (CONAAs). With the directive of the President, PDZ shall be the Region’s banner program to operationalize EO. 70 in order to address the root causes of insurgencies, internal disturbances and tensions, and other forms armed conflict and threats. It aims to promote the establishment of durable peace and inclusive development. Several proposed programs and projects based on identified needs will be implemented in focused areas now called PDZs. The PDZ has become the template as banner program for the implementation of the Executive Order in other Regions.
In his message, Secretary Nograles said, “I will be your bridge in Malacanang and will ensure that the proposed programs and projects will have appropriate budget for implementation”. He also stated that his function is to assist in articulating the region’s concern; assist in seeking efficient and orderly resolution of problems; preside over joint meetings of RDC and RPOC to harmonize peace and security and development efforts; and ensure that all projects, programs and activities are well implemented.
In his statement, Col Maurito L Licudine, Commander of 402nd Infantry Brigade said, “We are elated that finally, the RTF-ELCAC is created here in CARAGA as the operationalization of the whole of Nation Approach in addressing the insurgency problem. The RTF-ELCAC mechanism will synergize the inter-agency convergence embodied in the creation of 12 Clusters addressing the various concerns that is fueling the insurgency problem. In our part, we ensure our continuous commitment towards any government counter – insurgency efforts and assume our full support to the RTF-ELCAC”.
Likewise, Col Alllan D Hambala, Commander of 401st Infantry Brigade expressed his excitement on the launching of RTF-ELCAC of CARAGA as it will pave the way for a focused and harmonized agency intervention in addressing the insurgency problem.
Maj Gen Gacal on his part emphasized, “We are truly grateful for this activity and we offer our full commitment and support to the RTF-ELCAC CARAGA Region. This will further advance, synchronize and harmonize our convergence efforts to finally achieve our common aspirations for lasting peace and inclusive development. We call on all peace-loving people of CARAGA for your continued support since there are still a lot of works to be done. Other regions will look up to CARAGA as the role model in the implementation of our convergence efforts and this is a welcome challenge to all the members of the Task Force.” “The same activity will be conducted in Bukidnon this Friday, 28 June 2019 and just the same, we are excited of the launching”, Gacal added.
The launching of RTF-ELCAC is in line with President Duterte’s proclamation of Executive Order No. 70 last December 28, 2019. It institutionalizes the Whole-of-Nation Approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace, creating a national task force to end local communist armed conflict, and directing the adoption of a national peace framework. It provides an efficient mechanism as a government policy for the attainment of inclusive and sustainable peace.