Press Release
December 11, 2021

Bong Go supports NTF-ELCAC, reiterates need for whole-of-government approach to combat insurgency

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go supports efforts to provide sufficient budget for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, saying that its role towards long-lasting peace and development must be sustained and pursued further.

A member of the bicameral conference committee for the 2022 General Appropriations bill, Go urged lawmakers to ensure that the Task Force will have the necessary resources to continue its development assistance programs in conflict-affected areas.

"Being one of the members ng bicam ay isinulong ko na maibalik o madagdagan ang pondo ng NTF-ELCAC dahil naging successful naman ito. Not only to fight insurgency but (to bring) development doon mismo sa baba," Go said in an interview after visiting a fire-hit area in Manila City on Friday, December 10.

The previous month, the Senate moved to reduce the NTF-ELCAC's budget. As Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Go stressed the need to enable the body to continue to discharge its mandate and implement its programs and projects effectively.

He defended the need for a whole-of-government approach to ending the insurgency which, Go pointed out, is fueled by decades of government neglect, social injustice and poverty.

"Iyung mga napapabayaang hindi napapansin na barangay, doon nagkakaroon ng insurgency. Kasi ang pakiramdam ng mga barangay na 'to, they were neglected, walang pumapansin sa kanila (kaya) napapasok ng Left. So, bigyan natin ng insentibo ang mga ito," explained Go.

"Aside from incentives (dapat din) ma-develop naman 'yung barangay. Napakalaking bagay 'yon. 'Yun iba walang halos kalye, walang development ... para magsumikap sila and, at the same time, mabigyan ng panibagong buhay 'yung gustong magbagong buhay," he added.

The senator noted the Task Force's many successes in bringing development closer to the people. He also stressed the importance of reintegrating former rebels into the society by providing them means to make a living and overcome poverty.

"Pare-parehas naman tayong Pilipino. Ibig sabihin, bigyan natin ng pagkakataon na magbagong buhay 'yung sinong gustong magbagong buhay. Iyong iba pagod na 'yan sa bundok, 'di nga nila nasusulyapan ang itsura ng siyudad," stressed Go, before reemphasizing the urgent need to bring an end to decades of armed conflict.

"Noon pa man, my stand ay hindi talaga nagbago. Ayaw ko ng nagpapatayan ang Pilipino kapwa Pilipino. Masakit sa akin. Ilang beses na kaming umakyat ni Pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte diyan. 'Pag may namatay na sundalo ang sakit ng dibdib namin. 'Pag mayroong namatay na rebelde, kawawa rin 'yung pamilya. Sino bang Pilipino ang gustong makipagpatayan sa kapwa Pilipino?" he asked.

In 2018, President Duterte signed Executive Order No. 70 which institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach to attaining inclusive and sustainable peace. The Order also directed the adoption of a National Peace Framework to ensure the harmonized and synchronized delivery of services in conflict-affected and vulnerable areas as well as provided for the creation of the NTF-ELCAC.

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