‘Game-changer’; Lacson not in favor of abolishing NTF-ELCAC

Posted by watchmen
February 5, 2024
Posted in HEADLINE

By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson is not in favor of abolishing the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

This comes after United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur Irene Khan proposed abolishing the task force, calling it “outdated and does not take into account the ongoing prospects for peace negotiations.”

There are also allegations that NTF-ELCAC’s funds were not being used properly.

Lacson said the NTF-ELCAC has brought positive results.

The funds being distributed to the villages have significantly contributed to making each locality more peaceful and progressive, he said.

Lacson also pointed out that the role of local government units is to give a second chance to communist insurgents who want to return to the folds of the government.

He further explained that through the local ELCAC, communities are provided with livelihood projects and financial assistance to improve their respective areas.

The governor said he does not see any reason for abolishing NTF-ELCAC, adding that the only issue for halting the program depends on how the government can support it.

As long as insurgent groups persist, the government should continue reaching out to them, Lacson added.

Earlier, Khan said the NTF-ELCAC’s abolition will allow for more inclusive peace-making platforms with the participation of women peacemakers and communities as a genuine whole-of-nation approach to peace.

However, the national government rejected the UN rapporteur’s recommendation.

National Security Council Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya said it would not be proper at this time to abolish the NTF-ELCAC.

Malaya pointed out that the task force resulted in two supervening events, such as the government’s “strategic victory” over the New People’s Army, and the exploratory peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front.

Malaya added that the NTF-ELCAC has been a game-changer in the government’s fight against communist terrorism./DGB, WDJ

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