This is the first time for a region, and for any regional task force, that a barangay summit on EO 70 was held. This is also the first time that a regional task force has initiated a film festival under the direction of the Philippine National Police (PNP). We blazed a trail here in Caraga.”

This was the proud statement of Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles when he attended the Barangay Summit on EO 70 and Covenant Signing last Thursday at the Balanghai Hotel in Butuan City.

“In my long experience in public service, I’ve seen many problems starting at the barangay.”

Executive Order 70 was issued by President Rodrigo Duterte last 2018. It institutionalizes a “whole-of-nation approach” in attaining peace and development, ending the communist insurgency and adopting a national peace framework.

Nograles, the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) and Chairperson of the Caraga Regional Task Force-End Local Communist Armed Conflicts (RTF-ELCAC), together with National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, were invited as keynote speakers of the event that was organized by the Regional Development Council and the Regional Peace and Order Council – Caraga Region.

Nograles stressed that what they did in Caraga would be the template used in other regions for the localized implementation of EO 70 at the grassroots level. 

“We did it in Caraga, and we can replicate the success in other areas,” Nograles said.

He further explained, “During the second RTF-ELCAC meeting I was asked 

“This is the priority of President Duterte. Our President wants to end the communist armed conflict.”

what was next move and I said we should localize the regional task force. To that end, nothing is more local than our barangays.”

The Cabinet Secretary also thanked members of the RTF-ELCAC and the provincial government for their assistance in ensuring that even the farthest barangays were reached in the effort to suppress the communist insurgency in the region.

“We were able to get the support of 80 pilot barangays. In my long experience in public service, I’ve seen many problems starting at the barangay. Peace and development and other issues at the grassroots level should be prioritized because the barangay is most affected, and barangay leaders at the same time know the best solutions to their localities. It’s important that government is able to quickly address local concerns, such as those relating to peace and order.”

“This is the priority of President Duterte. Our President wants to end the communist armed conflict. This is also one of the reasons why I volunteered as CORDS of Caraga. I’m fully aware that addressing various social, political and economic issues is key to ending the insurgency,” Nograles emphasized. 

The task force’s objectives include social development programs targeting geographically-isolated barangays. Projects such as roads, school buildings, health centers and other basic services ensure that the needs of the people are met and addressed.

“The national government is springing into action, and this is the core of what we do at the RTF-ELCAC. We give what is needed in Caraga through retooled community support programs.” 

At the end of the program in Butuan, attendees from government, media and other stakeholders signed a written covenant and committed to unite under a common goal, which was to work for the restoration of peace in the region.


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