Duterte OKs national plan to address communism

IN AN effort to promote peace and order, President Rodrigo Duterte has approved a national plan aimed at addressing communism in the country, Malacañang said on Tuesday, April 16.

This developed during the President's first meeting with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) held at Malacañan Palace on Monday, April 15, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press briefing.

"President Duterte approved a national plan that would integrate and harmonize the various efforts of the whole of government and of all sectors of society in delivering goods and services, as well as in providing for peace and security, especially in conflict-affected communities," he said.

"The members of the Cabinet and other heads of agencies who were present at the meeting agreed that the Whole-of-Nation Movement is not directed primarily at defeating the communist insurgency, but instead to demonstrate genuine good governance for the betterment of the lives of the people," the Palace official added.

The NPA has been engaged in guerilla-styled warfare in the country for 50 years. For the past 32 years, the National Government and the communist movement have held intermittent negotiations but have yet to forge a peace deal.

The NTF-Elcac, created by virtue of Executive Order (EO) 70 inked on December 4, 2018, aims to provide an efficient mechanism and structure for the implementation of the "whole-of-nation approach" to achieve "inclusive and sustainable" peace.

The national task force is chaired by the President and constituted by the heads of 19 concerned departments and agencies of government, including two representatives from the private sector.

Panelo said Duterte has rallied all government instrumentalities, private sector, and all Filipinos to "actively work together in a Whole-of-Nation Movement to address violent conflicts, as well as build a culture of peace and development throughout the country."

"To effectively manage the Whole-of-Nation Movement, the President will assign specific Cabinet members to oversee the peace and development efforts in every region of the country," Panelo said.

"By effectively managing barriers and challenges to peace and development, the Whole-of-Nation Movement envisions to build resilient and robust communities that promote the welfare and well-being of the Filipino people," he added.

The latest development came after Duterte floated possibility of reviving talks with communists by creating a military-led panel that will negotiate with the communist leaders.

Panelo, however, said that the creation of the new peace panel was not raised during Duterte's meeting with members of NTF-Elcac. (SunStar Philippines)


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