Localized peace talks with the communist rebel movement is among the priorities of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to attain the objectives of its “whole-of-nation” approach to end local communist armed conflicts (ELCAC).
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said among the approaches to effectively carry out localized peace talks is to convince New People’s Army (NPA) rebels to lay down their arms and go back to the fold of the law.
“A number of NPA rebels already heeded the call of the government to surrender by providing them the support they need through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP,” Nograles said in a press conference in Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur, where he presided over the fourth regular meeting of the Regional Task Force of ELCAC in Caraga Region.
Most of those who surrendered have availed of livelihood support through the E-CLIP and other benefits provided by various agencies of the government, the palace official said.
“The NPA now has lost the support of the masses.”
“With the increase of the number of rebels and supporters who surrendered to the government, the NPA now has lost the support of the masses,” he said, adding that the communist movement in the country has “lost the cause that they have been fighting for.
“The people now benefit from the programs and services of the government. With these benefits they also realize that it is better to support the government and the administration of President Duterte,” Nograles added.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Caraga, particularly the Army’s 402nd and 401st Brigades, reported that a total of 3,424 NPA rebels have surrendered in 2019.Of the total number, 267 were considered regular members, 528 were members of the NPA’s Milisya ng Bayan, 184 were members of the Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad, and 2,445 were members of underground mass organizations.
He also cited the role of the local government units (LGUs) in the localized peace talks and the national government’s continuing efforts to convince more rebels to surrender.
Nograles added that the time frame for the implementation of the ELCAC is until 2022.
“The timeframe for the implementation of the ELCAC is until 2022.”
“By 2022, we will be able to accomplish our mission. This means the end of the local communist armed conflicts in all regions in the country,” he said.
Nograles said ELCAC is anchored on the objective of ultimately ending communist insurgency in the country, particularly the armed conflicts it created in communities that have affected Filipinos for more than 50 years.
He expressed optimism that the Duterte administration will achieve the main objective of ELCAC to bring “genuine peace and development to all Filipinos.
“The whole-of-nation approach is the formula in attaining the objectives of ELCAC. Right now, all the regions in the country have the functioning and working task forces,” Nograles concluded.