Tuesday, October 8, 2019

W. Visayas reg’l task force clusters move to address insurgency

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 8, 2019): W. Visayas reg’l task force clusters move to address insurgency

REACHING OUT. National Economic and Development Authority Regional Director for Western Visayas Ro-Ann Bacal says the clusters of the regional task force to end local armed conflict will come up with their interventions for targeted areas. In Western Visayas, 97 barangays stand to benefit from the government’s whole of nation approach to end the local armed conflict, she said on Monday (October 7, 2019). (PNA photo by Perla G. Lena)

The clusters under the regional task force to end local communist armed conflict will be coming up with intervention plans for targeted areas in Western Visayas.

The plans were made following the meeting of the task force with cluster heads last week, Regional Director Ro-Ann Bacal of the National Economic Development Authority in Western Visayas said on Monday.

“These will be put together in the implementation plan (IMPLAN). This will be shared next week when we meet in Cebu for the Visayas-Mindanao meeting where the National Security Authority (officials) will be coming together and will ask how the regions are doing,” Bacal said in an interview.

She said the national task force has established clusters to “identify interventions in specific areas”. The Philippine Army has provided cluster heads with a list of barangays for specific interventions.

In Western Visayas, the provinces of Iloilo, Negros Occidental, and Capiz are identified as areas that will be prioritized in the provision of focused services.

Interior and Local Government Regional Director for Western Visayas Ariel Iglesia, in a prior interview, said the region is second in terms of barangays that should be prioritized under the whole-of-nation approach to end local armed conflict in the country.

Nationwide, there are 798 barangays, he said with 97 in Western Visayas -- 77 are based in Negros Occidental while 20 are distributed in Capiz and Iloilo.

“We are the second-highest in the country, first is Bicol Region,” he said.

DILG sits as the lead agency of five out of the 12 lines of clusters that were created by the task force. It also sits as a member of four other clusters aside from serving as lead secretariat aside from the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development (CORD), who will lead the efforts of Western Visayas.

“We have our respective initiatives. All we need to do is to coordinate all the efforts for them to become synchronized towards attaining our objective that before the end of the President’s term, the target is to end armed conflict,” he said.

Bacal added that though the concentration will be at the three provinces, it does not mean that other provinces will be left behind.

“There are boundaries between these and usually it is in the boundaries where there are problems,” she said.

Bacal said their main objective is “really to tell people in the countryside that the government is doing something for them”.

“That their problems are being heard and that the different agencies are ready to provide them with the necessary support to resolve some of the problems that they are experiencing,” she said.

The regional task force she said is now looking at the security component as they entertain the idea for agencies to conduct an immersion.

In the end, she urged those who are still engaged in the armed struggle to let them know how the government can be of help.

“We know that you have had problems in the past, your situation and the fact that you seem not to feel the presence of government. We are telling you that we are now making an effort to go as far as where they are. So please help us make it secure for our workers to go to your places so that we will be able to reach out to you, your families, especially to barangays that we are targeting,” she said.


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