BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – The 23rd Infantry “Masigasig” Battalion and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority in Agusan del Norte(TESDA-ADN) conducted a Grand Pulong- pulong sa Barangay in support of the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) on September 25, 2020 and was joined by residents of Barangays Poblacion and Rojales in Carmen, Agusan del Norte.
The NTF-ELCAC was established through Executive Order No. 70 s. 2018 or the Whole-of-Nation Approach assembling the different national government agencies (NGAs) and the private sector to aid communities that are in need of assistance and social development and to solve the fifty-two (52) year old insurgency problem in the country. The PRLEC is one of the twelve (12) clusters of NTF-ELCAC led by TESDA with the task of designing new and different strategies to ensure better services for communities and as part of the state’s efforts to further promote sustainable and inclusive peace.
Director Rey Cueva of TESDA-ADN presented the overview of PRLEC to the one hundred (100) members and supporters of the Communist New People’s Army Terrorist (CNT) from Poblacion and Rojales during the activity. He emphasized to the participants the objectives of the creation of PRLEC, to include the development of self- reliant, resilient and sustainable communities through harmonized and culturally responsive development programs. He also stressed that the harmonious implementation of government programs in local communities is a big factor to influence the communities to realize their own capabilities. He further said that the PRLEC must conduct a community needs assessment, not only on the level of skills needs assessment but also other factors wherein the other government instrumentalities can intervene to gain much bigger and wider impact, output and outcome.
“PRLEC programs are specific and not just a series of activities so that impact will be felt. There are different kinds of poverty – not only food but also basic services from the government like health and sanitation. We should be able to categorize what best suits Livelihood we need, capacitate as many special clients as possible, as part of our mandate as an agency, as well as in support to the national endeavor to promote sustainable and inclusive peace,” Cueva said.
Carmen Municipal Administrator Wilfredo Taglucop, who represented Mayor Jovette C. Calo, expressed gratitude to the PRLEC members for their efforts of bringing the plans and programs of TESDA and other line agencies to the constituents of Carmen.
“Ang mga programa, training ug mga proyekto nga ipahigayon kaninyo sa TESDA inyo gyud nang seryosohon kay kani nga mga training gihimo para kaninyo ug sibo gayud sa inyong sitwasyon ug panginahanglan sa inyong lugar,” Taglucop said
He added that the LGU of Carmen is always ready to support the PRLEC team to address the root causes of the insurgency in the area.
“Mao ako kamong gihangyo nga dili nato sayangong kaning mga prebelihiyo nga gihatag kanato sa gobyerno. Kay ang gobyerno, ilabina ang lokal nga panggamhanan sa Carmen naglantaw kanunay sa inyong panghinanglanon, ilabina sa mga kaigsuonan nato nga kanhing myembro sa NPA nga nibalik sa sabakan sa atong gobyerno. Tabangan nato ug higugmaon nato ang atong gobyerno aron makab-ot nato ang kahapsay ug kalinaw sa atong lungsod,” Taglucop said.
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, Commander of the 23rd IB, urged the people of Barangays Poblacion and Rojales to unite and support the government.
“The peace and development efforts of the government to communities particularly to the identified conflict-affected barangays aim to strengthen the barangay-based institutions and sectoral organizations to engage in participatory issue resolutions and the different peace and order interventions,” Paulo said.
He pointed out that the PRLEC is one of the national government’s mechanisms in implementing the Whole-of-Nation Approach to peacefully end the local communist armed conflict as institutionalized by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte through EO 70.
He added that the PRLEC plays a vital role in the implementation of the programs and services of EO 70 through entrepreneurship and marketing, employment, training, financing, institutional development, and food production to enhance the livelihood and employment of the communities.
“I encourage the remnants of the CNTs to stop doing terroristic activities and go back to your families and return to the folds of the law to avail the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government. Let us work together in restoring peace in your area. We must not allow any group to sow havoc in our community. Towards this end, the development will surely come in,” Paulo said.