DILG officer-in-charge Secretary Eduardo Año said that nipping communist recruitment in the bud entails a whole-of-government approach in order to address the socio-politico-economic problems that threaten the stability of the country.
AP/Bullit Marquez/File
DILG: Interagency task force vs Reds’ recruitment gaining ground
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - October 1, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The proposal to establish an Interagency Task Force Against Communist Insurgency is gaining ground after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) expressed support for it, days after the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) discovered the purported “Red October” plot of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front to oust President Duterte.

DILG officer-in-charge Secretary Eduardo Año said that nipping communist recruitment in the bud entails a whole-of-government approach in order to address the socio-politico-economic problems that threaten the stability of the country.

“The government is cognizant that effectively ending insurgency requires not only police and military response but also a triad of development, governance and security efforts,” he said.

Año concurs with AFP chief of staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. that civilian agencies and other stakeholders must be aware of and integrated in the whole-of-government strategy of quashing communist recruitment.

“Insurgency is rooted in poverty, inequality and grievances that could be addressed by respective mandates of various government institutions. We have all the mechanisms to face these issues but all government agencies have to perform our roles in a concerted manner,” Año said.

Communist insurgency is not primarily a military or police problem but a “governance problem,” according to the DILG chief, who is a former AFP chief of staff.

“In fact, we are winning the battle in the mountains. There are so many surrenderers now. It’s in the propaganda war and parliamentary battle that we are losing. The National Task Force will ensure that other government agencies help the (Department of National Defense) and the DILG in this effort,” he said.

Civilian government agencies must be aware of the real situation and fulfill their mandates, Año said, so as to prevent build-up of public grievances that communist terrorist rebels exploit to stir anti-government sentiments such as corruption, price hikes, and labor sector and indigenous peoples’ concerns.

“Communists are using as propaganda the inefficacies of the government to advance their aspiration of toppling democracy. Thus, all instrumentalities of the government have to recognize their role in addressing this urgent and long-standing problem,” he said.

As to the part of the DILG, he assured the public that the department is instilling good governance among local government units at the forefront of public service delivery.

He also said there is no need for a loyalty check among the ranks of the Philippine National Police (PNP) “whose allegiance is to the Constitution and to the people.”

“The DILG and the DND as well as the PNP and AFP, are one in preserving the stability of the state. Our police and soldiers are ruled by law and accountable to the sovereign people only,” he said.

Meanwhile, DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said that the department is assisting in addressing communist insurgency through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, the government’s flagship program for its reintegration effort for former communist rebels.

Malaya denied the claim of NDF consultant Rey Casambre who claimed that the AFP’s proposed interagency task force will not succeed in its goal to counter insurgency in the country.

“Contrary to Casambre’s statement that basic social, economic and political reforms are not being done and will never work, hundreds of surrenders are evident in various regions in the country through the E-CLIP which is becoming more and more comprehensive and integrated,” Malaya said.

“We are pleased by the success of our E-CLIP program and we welcome all rebels who wish to return to mainstream society,” he added.

The Implementing Rules and Regulations of Administrative Order No. 10 series of 2018 that created Task Force Balik-Loob specifies additional benefits to former rebels, such as housing assistance or housing unit from the National Housing Authority.

They also get a monthly modified conditional cash transfer after being referred by a provincial social welfare and development officer to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for enrollment in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Malaya said the standard E-CLIP benefits that have been given to hundreds of beneficiaries are P15,000 immediate assistance per former rebel for mobilization expenses while his or her enrollment in the program is being done; a P50,000 livelihood assistance and firearms remuneration.

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES-NEW PEOPLE’S ARMY-NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT RED OCTOBER TASK FORCE AGAINST COMMUNIST INSURGENCY
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