From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 11, 2019): Task force created to counter Reds activities in NCR
COUNTERING REDS. (From left) National Intelligence Coordinating Agency-NCR Rufino Mendoza, AFP JTF-NCR commander Brig. Gen. Alex Luna, MMDA chair Danilo Lim, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, NCRPO chief Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, DILG Usec. Ricojudge Janvier Echiverri, and National Security Council assistant director Ray Roderos hold a press conference following the creation of the NCRTF-ELCAC which aims to counter activities of left-leaning groups in the capital through non-violent means. (Photo by Raymond Carl dela Cruz)
MANILA — Two regional councils in Metro Manila adopted on Tuesday a resolution creating the National Capital Region (NCR) Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NCRTF-ELCAC).
Metro Manila’s Regional Development Council (RDC) and Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) unanimously adopted the resolution during their first joint meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
The task force aims to counter the activities of left-leaning groups in the capital, through the improved delivery of basic services to the poor, informative dialogues with vulnerable groups such as college students, and addressing the concerns of people exploited by groups under the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
In a press conference following the meeting, NCR Police Office (NCRPO) chief Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the task force would focus on the delivery of basic services.
“It’s about the delivery of basic services. No armed conflict here but their fronts are here, we will focus on that,” said Eleazar, who also serves as the RPOC’s interim chairperson.
He identified the poorer areas of Camanava as one of their targets for increased delivery of basic services since people living in these areas are exploited by groups under the CPP.
“Naco-convince nila to join rallies which become their basis for their fronts,” Eleazar said.
Aside from addressing the CPP activities in marginalized areas, Eleazar said they would also address the recruitment activities of communist groups in schools, not through an increased presence of uniformed personnel, but through dialogues and other forms of engagement with colleges and universities.
“We’ll engage with them in dialogues 'yung mga estudyante na papayag sa amin (those students that will allow us). Kung alin ang accommodating na schools, pupuntahan namin (Schools that are willing to accommodate us, we’ll visit),” Eleazar said.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Usec. Ricojudge Janvier Echiverri said educating Filipinos against fallacies used by communist groups in their recruitment activities would greatly minimize their number.
Included in these educational efforts are infomercials.
“The ELCAC has already drafted and crafted infomercials--magcre-create ng infomercials na medyo hindi naman heavy -- na pang-masa, pang-kabataan, para mas lalo nila maintindihan 'yung fallacies (we will create infomercials that are not that heavy—made for the people, for the youth, so these fallacies will be more easily understood),” Echiverri said.
Among other issues to be addressed by the NCRTF-ELCAC and the DILG are labor disputes, support for displaced impoverished Filipinos, and those whose livelihoods were affected by the recent drive of the government to clear roads of all obstructions, he added.
Brig. Gen. Alex Luna, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Joint Task Force-NCR, said from the height of 25,000 members in 1986 of the CPP, it is now down to 3,600 but has yet to decrease because of a support system made up of CPP’s legal fronts, Luna said.
He said these groups conduct extortion activities against telecommunications and mining companies, among others, which they use to fund their activities.
“They want to increase activities here para ma-sustain ang activities nila,” Luna said.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Danilo Lim said the MMDA also made efforts against communist insurgency through the creation of monitoring units in partnership with local government units (LGU).
“We involve 'yung mga LGUs para mag-ipon ng data para magkaroon tayo ng (the LGUs so we can gather data and create a) database,” said Lim, who also serves as chair of the RDC in NCR.
In 2018, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Executive Order 70, which created the NTF-ELCAC and enabling a whole-of-nation approach in ridding the country of communist insurgency.
The NTF-ELCAC focuses on inclusive and sustainable solutions to the communist problem such as the creation of Enhanced Comprehensive Localized Integration Program, which encourages rebels to return to the folds of the law through livelihood support.