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Grassroots consultative approach adopted to end NPA scourge: Exec

A top official from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in the region said they will try a different approach to end local communist armed conflicts.

“We want to address a new approach by talking to the barangays and asking them what they need instead of us assuming what they needed,” DILG XI regional director Alex Roldan said in a press conference on Friday.

Under the new approach, local government executives and civil society groups will take the lead role in communicating with the communities, while the military will take a backseat.

They already started teaming up with the barangays and made sure that local officials know where to address their concerns.

“We changed it. We go there not to give them projects which we decided, but talk to them and ask them what they need,” he said.

He also said that he wanted to establish a partnership between the local government and these communities.

This is in line with Executive Order No. 70, which institutionalizes a whole of nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace, creates a task force to end local communist armed conflict, and directs the adoption of a national peace framework.

Councilor Mabel Sunga-Acosta filed a resolution supporting EO No. 70. She said that as for the city, “we already been doing this for long now, especially that we have Peace 911, which is similar to the aim of EO 70,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), which is helping former rebels obtain livelihood skills to help their transition back to mainstream society.

The Tesda, being the poverty and livelihood and employment committee, also teamed up with other agencies to uplift the communities, particularly those still languishing under the influence of the New People’s Army.

“The training for these people depends on what an individual or the community needs. Talaingod surrenderers, for example, have been enrolled in construction training, carpentry, masonry and welding, and these people were hired for the road construction in their place,” Tesda assistant regional director Arlyn Bandong said.

“We have focused resources in 2020 to sustain we had in 2019, in cooperation with the national agencies, local government units, and civil societies,” she added.

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