CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, September 10—Towards operationalizing EO 70 or the “Whole-of-Nation Approach”, Northern Mindanao convened the Regional Task Force (RTF) to end local communist armed conflict (ELCAC) for the first time.

      The RTF-ELCAC is composed of Regional Development Council (RDC) and Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) member agencies working to address the root cause of insurgencies and other armed conflict and threats.

      Strategies include prioritizing and harmonizing the delivery of basic services and social development packages by the government, through the 12 Lines of Efforts to ensure alignment of the goals set in the National Peace Framework. 

      “The best solution to the five-decade insurgency problem does not end in military efforts alone, we are shifting our viewpoint to being more symptomatic element deeply-rooted on issues that need to be addressed immediately,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin M. Andanar said.

      Also serving as the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Northern Mindanao Presiding Officer, Andanar added that to battle peace means to battle hunger, poverty, historical injustices, social inequality and lack of inclusivity, among others.

      Out of the 12 Lines of Efforts, five (5) of it are led by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), namely: Sectoral Unification, Local Government Empowerment, Basic Services, Localized Peace Engagement, and E-CLIP and Amnesty Program.

      “It is high time that we should ensure that everyone is working towards ending the local communist armed conflict,” DILG 10 Regional Director Arnel M. Agabe said. “Hopefully, our local government units here in Northern Mindanao will continue to actively support us in making the government be felt by the people.”

      Other clusters are led by the following agencies: (1) Legal Cooperation: Department of Justice-RPO, (2) Strategic Communication: Philippine Information Agency, (3) Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment: Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), (4) Infrastructure, Resources Management and Employment: Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), (5) Peace, Law Enforcement and Development Support: (Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and (6) Situational Awareness and Knowledge Management: National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).

      Forty-eight (48) out of 68 member agencies attended the said meeting.

      The creation of the RTF-ELCAC was approved last June 28, 2019, including the Terms of Reference (TOR).