We view with grave concern the reduction of the proposed budget for the Barangay Development Program (BDP) from PHP28.12 billion to PHP4 billion. Instead of hastening the progress we have made over the last five years in addressing the root causes of the communist insurgency, this move will only reinforce the CTG propaganda of government neglect, especially in the far-flung communities.
The very essence of the NTF-ELCAC is to shift the focus of anti-insurgency efforts from a purely military approach to a holistic one. The BDP is one of the NTF's tools to ensure that systems and infrastructure will be available to address the gaps in the delivery of services at the grassroots level.
It is often said that the road to peace is the actual road. As more and more members of the communist terrorist group return to the fold of the law and undergo the reintegration process through E-CLIP, we hope that they can also return to communities that can support individual and collective development.
We urge the Senate to reconsider its decision and listen to the voices of those living in far flung areas who are clamoring for the implementation of the BDP.
USEC Reynaldo B. Mapagu
Chairperson, Task Force Balik-Loob
Head, E-CLIP and Amnesty Program Cluster, NTF-ELCAC