BACANSI, Butuan City – The province of Surigao del Sur created the Provincial Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) in Caraga during the Joint 3rd Quarter Provincial Development Council (PDC) and Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) Meeting held last August 13, 2019 at Villa Maria Luisa Hotel, Brgy San Agustin, Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.
The creation of the Provincial Task Force ELCAC of the Province of Surigao del Sur which is the first among the provinces in Caraga Region is a trailblazing feat for the province to implement Executive Order No. 70 of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte which aims to prioritize and harmonize the delivery of basic services and social development in the conflict affected areas and vulnerable communities, facilitates social inclusivity and ensure participation of all sectors.
The Provincial TF-ELCAC was unanimously approved and adopted by the members of the two (2) provincial councils spearheaded by Hon Alexander Pimentel, the Provincial Governor of Surigao del Sur and the Chairman of the PDC and PPOC as a significant boost to combat insurgency using the Whole of Nation Approach (WNA).
Meanwhile, the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade, Philippine Army lauded the Province of Surigao del Sur being the first province that created the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and is looking forward that other provinces in Caraga region will follow suit in order to accelerate the operationalization of EO70.
“We laud the passage and adoption of the PTF ELCAC in the Province of Surigao del Sur as an enabling mechanism to operationalize the EO70. For the past years, the province of Surigao del Sur has become a conflict prone area with the presence of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) wreaking havoc and forces their way in to the communities radicalizing hapless residents towards their lost cause and rotten ideology. With the creation of TF-ELCAC in the province, we fervently hope that Surigaonons unite and together address the root causes of the insurgency that plagued the province and derailed its progress for the longest time”, Col Maurito L Licudine, Commander of 402nd Infantry Brigade said.
“We encourage the Chief Executives of the other provinces in Caraga to do the same as we also assure our full commitment to the PTF-ELCAC in its resolve towards the government’s anti – insurgency efforts. We hope that with this convergence, we will now be able to synchronize our efforts to end all forms of armed conflicts and attain a just and lasting peace in the region”, Col Licudine added.
The Joint Provincial Development Council-Provincial Peace and Order Council Meeting was attended by other key officials, members and guests of the aforementioned councils which includes the following: the DILG Provincial Director and the Head Secretariat of PPOC, Director Pedrito Alacaba; Provincial Director of the Provincial Planning and Development Office, Engr Merlinda O Baure; 401st Brigade Commander, Col Allan D Hambala; 402nd Brigade Commander, Col Maurito L Licudine; Municipal/City Mayors of the province.
It can be recalled that the Task Force ELCAC at the national level has adopted a mechanism designating Cabinet Secretaries as Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security (CORDS). In Caraga region, Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles was appointed and designated by President Duterte as the CORDS of the regional task force to assist in articulating the region’s concerns; to assist in seeking efficient and orderly resolution of problems; to harmonize peace and security and development efforts; and to ensure that all projects, programs and activities are well implemented.
The PDC-RPOC Secretariat is yet to release the duly signed and approved resolution of the Provincial Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict.