CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)–In consonance with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Executive Order (EO)-70 creating the the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), a nationwide candle lighting ceremony dubbed “National Day of Solidarity, Condemnation and Outrage against the CPP-NPA-NDF” was held yesterday, March 29, to show unity and sorrow over the deaths wrought by the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) atrocities.
Held on the same day of the New People’s Army’s (NPA) founding anniversary, the ceremony aims to unearth the truth about the NPA’s barbarity and scourge in the communities.
Various participants from both public and private sectors joined the event, which paid tribute to the victims by sharing their stories and photos from their families alongside performances by local artists.
Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) commander, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., the spokesperson of NTF-ELCAC shared that he is mourning with the victim’s families, as he expressed optimism that the government will be successful in ending local communist armed conflict in President Duterte’s term. “The government is now on the right path of solving the issue by tackling its political, social, and economical factors,” he said.
In Northern Mindanao, the Regional Task Force (RTF)-ELCAC has implemented the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) assistance to 895 former rebels (FRs) amounting to P 44,338,805.61 with bulk of the allocation going to livelihood assistance inline with the President’s mandate to end the conflict with less bloodshed as possible.
Echoing Parlade’s sentiments, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy also believes that in addition to solving key issues in the political, social, and economic spheres, a reconstruction and rehabilitation of the country’s educational system must also be in place to inform the future generations of the CTG-NPA’s actions and to prevent radicalization among one of the country’s vulnerable sectors – the youth.
“Those of us who know the truth, those of us who hold the truth in our hands have to be louder about the truth than their lies,” she said.
With over 654 individuals and offices from the different regions joining over Zoom, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. thanked the participants and cited that the solidarity shown in the candle lighting ceremony is merely one of the many examples of the whole-of-nation approach to finally end the cycle of violence by the misguided principles, and to finally move forward toward building a peaceful and resilient nation.
As of March 2021, the RTF-ELCAC in Northern Mindanao has created over 2,060 local task forces which serves as localized mechanisms to harmonize and coordinate EO-70 initiatives, create peace initiatives, and enact objectives of EO-70 on the ground. (VPSB/PIA10)