DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año on Thursday, July 25, urged local chief executives to comply with the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to shun corruption, illegal drugs and terrorism.
Año said Duterte’s order to the local officials during his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, July 22, as well as during their meeting on Tuesday in Manila Hotel is all for the good of the nation.
“Sa Sona ng ating Pangulo, narinig na natin ang utos niya sa ating mga local government units (LGUs) na dapat ay tatlong araw lamang ang pagpoproseso ng permits. Let us all help fulfill the President’s promise to cut down red tape, regain investors’ trust, and foster a competitive business environment,” he said.
“Our government is steadfast in protecting our communities. The threat of terrorism constantly lurks in the shadows. And now, they have become bolder, more aggressive, and fearless. We know what happened in Marawi. Do not let this happen in your own communities,” he added.
Ano urged the local officials to use the mechanisms established by the government, particularly the Emergency 911 and Hotline 8888 which can be used by the public to report complaints or emergency situations.
He said local executives should urge their municipal councils to enact ordinances that will localize national laws used to address pressing concerns.
The DILG secretary, however, assured that the government has intensified counter-insurgency measures through the National Task Force (NTF) to End Local Communist Armed Insurgency.
“The hard approach is being administered by the military, police and other law enforcements. And as you support them in their operations, I urge you to take the lead in the soft approach through the conduct of localized peace talks, and the implementation of Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP),” he said.
“We have been conducting a series of provincial action planning workshops, so as heads of your own local task forces, I urge you to be on top of the process — from planning to implementation,” he added.
By fighting insurgency, Año said it also means non-provision of support to the communist rebels.
“Do not support the NPA (New People’s Army). Do not give money to the NPA or any of their front organizations. Kung gusto mo tawagan mo ako, ako ang pupunta doon sa kanila,” he said.
Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Benjamin Madrigal ordered the military commanders to take the extra mile in the fight against terrorism.
“As we intensify our efforts against the different threat groups and the support to the different agencies and units of our government, I am directing the commanders at all levels to take the extra mile,” he said during a command conference attended by all top AFP officials.
“Our mission accomplishment is directly proportional to the capacity and capability of our personnel and units to execute their mission. At the end of the day, it is our leadership that matters,” he added.
Madrigal said based on their assessment, the military has achieved “a lot” in bringing the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs) to its breaking point but noted that there are still more work to do.
He said from January to July 24, the AFP neutralized 6,028 communist terrorists including supporters.
Of the total, 95 regular New People’s Army (NPA) members were killed in encounters, 145 were apprehended and 5,788 have surrendered through the help of local government units.
A total of 945 high-powered and low-powered firearms were seized during the period while 260 NPA encampments were seized.
The AFP has also neutralized 198 local terrorists from January.
Of the figure, 89 were members of the Abu Sayyaf Group who suffered 53 casualties, 24 surrenderers, and 12 captured.
Madrigal, however, assured that the AFP is intensifying its operational tempo, particularly in Mindanao to dismantle the Abu Sayyaf Group.
He said they are continuously strengthening their intelligence monitoring to combat terrorism. (SunStar Philippines)