By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
People in the Northern Mindanao region are assured that the government’s program for peace and the sustained delivery of government services will continue, especially for those in the disadvantaged areas.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar made the assurance as he led the Regional Development Council (RDC) and Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) joint meeting Friday.
In a statement, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said that Andanar assured stakeholders in Region X that the Convergence Areas for Peace and Development (CAPDev) will continue in the long run.
“I am very confident that with the assertiveness and the aggressiveness of the entire team, our fight against poverty problems in Region 10 will be much faster,” he said.
“And of course, if we solve the problem of poverty, we can easily convince the rebels to reintegrate into our society,” he added.
Andanar, who is also the Cabinet representative for the Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security (CORDS), commended the strong cooperation among government agencies in rolling out CAPDev.
The CAPDev aims to promote the establishment of durable peace and development while empowering communities in the priority focus areas through peace-building and reconciliation, socioeconomic transformation, good governance, and institution building.
It also espouses a focused, coordinated, and sustained delivery of the government’s basic services as well as social development packages in poor, conflict-affected and geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas in the region.
Before the meeting, CORDS Region X, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the local government unit of Cabanglasan turned over 50 houses to former rebels and other resident beneficiaries in Barangay Iba in Cabanglasa, Bukidnon.
The government also conducted a medical program and an information and service caravan in the same barangay.
According to Andanar, there is no room for pessimism under the administration of President Duterte.
“We all need to deliver. But our job here as a team is to help one another. I do not believe that municipalities cannot perform effectively,” Andanar said.
“I do not believe that’s what they want. But perhaps they will need more helping hands in the capacity building for us to pull them out of their miseries…There is no problem we cannot face in the future,” he added.
The former journo also assured that all provinces of Region 10 will benefit from CAPDev.
“We have plans in going to every province in Region 10. But with the frequency, I cannot tell you now since there is a collegial body that will decide,” Andanar said.
CAPDev operationalizes President Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) 70, which established the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
Andanar, meanwhile, called on stakeholders to map-out activities that need to be conducted in the succeeding months to move the peace and development agenda forward.
“For the second half of this year, groundworks are well underway in achieving the goals of EO 70,” he said.
Andanar also endorsed the proposal on the structure for the institutional and implementing mechanism of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC).