Senator Bato dela Rosa sees the end of the communist insurgency problem in the country if the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) will be institutionalized.
This developed as Dela Rosa pushed anew for the immediate approval of his Senate Bill No. 200, or the ELCAC Act, which seeks to institutionalize the NTF-ELCAC by establishing the National Council to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, at the hearing of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation.
“Nakita ko itong glimmer of hope nang ginawa itong task force na ito, itong ELCAC na ito, nakita ko napakaganda pala nito. Ito na ang hinihintay namin noon,” the legislator said.
“Sabi nga namin nu’ng teniyente pa kami, ‘What kind of war is this? Tayo lang pinabayaan ng gobyerno makipaggiyera, makipagpatayan sa mga NPA…they’re sitting in their chair, inside their office, nagpapalamig lang sa opisina. Kami do’n sa field, kami ang nakipagpatayan. Kami ang nasasaktan, kami ang nahihirapan’,” the lawmaker continued.
The NTF-ELCAC, created in December 2018 under Executive Order 70 (EO70) of then President Rodrigo Duterte, has successfully provided social services in the countryside through effective coordination of task force member agencies.
“Areas formerly known to be communist-infested are now thriving and enjoying their peaceful communities.”
“Areas formerly known to be communist-infested are now thriving and enjoying their peaceful communities. With the accomplishments of the NTF-ELCAC, many problems in the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas were resolved, which greatly helped in neutralizing the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army,” the senator stressed.
During the hearing, National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos initially expressed her opposition to SBN200 by saying that the institutionalization “may not be in order.”
But Dela Rosa argued that the purpose of institutionalizing the NTF-ELCAC would be to ensure continuity of its program, given its success in discharging its mandate under EO70 and that SBN200 has a sunset clause.
“I have lost a lot of my men in my war and in my battle against the NPA kaya alam ko kung gaano kahirap na problema ito.”
“Ang purpose lang naman dito that’s why I would like to institutionalize the task force, para sigurado talaga na ang focus ay and’yan… I have fought these communists for a long time. I have lost a lot of my men in my war and in my battle against the NPA kaya alam ko kung gaano kahirap na problema ito,” he said.
The former top cop also explained, “‘Yung life ng task force as said by Sec. Carlos na anytime pwede itong ma-dissolve, the same is true with this council because nakalagay naman dito pagka wala nang problema sa insurgency, then, hindi na kailangan itong council na ito, so, i-dissolve natin.”
After hearing Dela Rosa’s justification for his bill, Carlos responded, “Yes, thank you very much, Sen. Dela Rosa. You have made very compelling arguments about why it should be made into a council. And because I’m a scholar, I’m willing to change my mind. I forgot there is a sunset clause there, yes. It would render itself obsolete when the reason for its being would have been obliterated. So, I’m willing to change my mind for the record. I’m now withdrawing what I earlier articulated.”
Dela Rosa, an ex-military and former chief of the Philippine National Police, said he wanted to honor the men who sacrificed their lives in the decades-long fight against insurgency.
“Ngayong senador na ako, I want to give back what is due to the people na mga namatay, na ibinuwis ‘yung buhay dito sa problema ng insurgency. Gusto ko silang tulungan na mawala na talaga ito just to honor them,” he concluded.