ISABELA CITY, Basilan, July 19 (PIA) - Various government agencies and representatives from local government units gathered at a local hotel in Zamboanga City to lay out plans for a convergence effort to finally put an end to the insurgency problem in the region.
DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista, who is also designated Cabinet Officer for Regional Coordination for the National Task Force To End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) in Region IX said that the summit is for convergence efforts in the region to implement programs and projects of various government agencies in focused target areas affected by the insurgency problem with the Communist rebels.
"This will be the focus of our participants who are representatives coming from the local government agencies at ibubuhos nila ang kanilang mga serbisyo doon sa mga sinasabi nating areas na mataas ang poverty (and they will pour all their efforts and services in areas with high incidence of poverty)," Secretary Bautista said.
Bautista reiterated that the convergence is crucial to reduce the tendency of communities to be under the influence of insurgent groups because of poverty.
"Kaya kung mare-reduce natin yun, mai-eradicate yun, ang tendency is wala nang magiging reason ang mga communist terrorist group na pinababayaan sila ng gobyerno (If we are able to reduce and eradicate that [poverty], then there will be no reason for the communist group to say that the government has neglected them)," Bautista added.
Meanwhile, NEDA-X Regional Director Mylah Faye Aurora Carino shared the experiences and mechanisms that they have adapted in areas of convergence for peace and development in their region. She underscored the importance of carefully designed programs and projects, especially in identifying focused target areas for development right there in the very communities who need development the most.
"Ang sinasabi natin na while we want to end local communist conflict and other conflicts, to us that is just the means, because the higher end for us is sustainable and inclusive development," Carino explained.
During the Summit, the Regional Task Force (RTF)-ELCAC adapted the organizational setup and operational mechanisms modeled from RTF-Region X and has initially taken some steps to implement the plans through the different line of efforts of the different clusters of the RTF, to include basic services, infrastructure, security, local governance empowerment, local peace initiatives, and strategic communication, among others.
The convergence Summit is one of the many steps of the government based on the directives of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte that is stipulated under Executive Order No. 70 which calls for a whole-of-nation approach towards lasting peace and development in our communities. (ALT/RVC/PIA9-Basilan)