By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has directed the national task force to step up efforts to address the problem of communist insurgency in the country.
At the turnover of housing units to former rebels in Tagum City, Davao del Norte Tuesday, the President said the government must continue to deliver efficient government services to improve the lives of people and “those who have turned away from the government.”
“I hope that today’s event will continue to encourage the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, the Task Force Balik-Loob, and their local counterparts to work doubly hard in addressing the problems of insurgency so that our people can enjoy safer and more secure [communities],” he said in his speech.
Duterte recognized that the problem of insurgency stems from the inability of government services to effectively and efficiently reach the people.
The national task force was created by the President through Executive Order No. 70 last December. It aims to ensure the efficient implementation of the whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace, especially in conflict-affected areas.
The President traveled to Davao del Norte Tuesday to attend the awarding of housing units at Freedom Residences to 34 former rebels as well as the surrender of firearms under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP. Representatives of the rebel returnees from Davao Oriental, Davao de Oro, and Davao del Norte received the land titles from the President during the ceremony.
In his speech, the President has also urged former rebels “to maximize the opportunity to return into the mainstream of society by being responsible, productive, peaceful and law-abiding citizens.”
He said the government has to take concrete measures in addressing the former rebels’ needs including financial assistance, firearms remuneration, and housing units for former communist rebels and Militia ng Bayan members.
He promised that the former rebels would live in decent and comfortable houses through a resettlement program under the National Housing Authority. The community, he said, is located near a public market, police station, health center, barangay hall, and schools.
“The successful implementation of this program is made possible through the efforts of all stakeholders who remain steadfast in pursuing peaceful, inclusive and holistic reforms,” he said.
On the decommissioning of the rebels’ weapons, Duterte said this was “a significant step towards ending unlawful violence and strengthening our commitment in implementing progressive reforms.”
“In the spirit of peace and solidarity, I look forward to having you as partners in creating a better and brighter future for all Filipinos. Together, let us build a more prosperous, inclusive and equitable Philippines,” he said.