By Gab Daguio
I WOULD like to express my disappointment and opposition about defunding the NTF-Elcac.
The NTF-Elcac has a total budget of P19 billion for 2021 and about P16 billion will be spent for funding development projects in communities freed from insurgency threat.
Among the proposed projects under the Barangay Development Plan that will be implemented are water and sanitation system, construction of farm-to-market roads, school buildings, electrification, livelihoods and so on. These projects will pave bigger opportunities and certainly make life easier for the villagers and the good thing is these projects are long-term and sustainable. It is not easy to simply undo and defund it, considering the villages that are hungry and hoping for assistance and development after being liberated from insurgency.
What will happen to farmers who are hoping for a sufficient water supply to irrigate their land and produce more crops? How will farmers from these remote communities struggling to transport and sell their agricultural products to the market for greater profits without roads and bridges? What about those poor children who are walking so far to study, who should be benefited from these more convenient school buildings that will be built and what will happen to the people who are hoping to be lifted out of poverty through the livelihoods this program can provide?
We all know that we are now in the midst of a pandemic that threatens our lives. However, let us not forget that we also have a social illness that is worse than this pandemic, a menace to the security and life of all Filipinos. That is why, we cannot choose one and sweep the other one under the carpet. We have to fight and resolve both. We can promote peace and development, at the same time responding to the pandemic.
I trust that our senators will take into consideration the recipients of these projects and I believe that they will not cut off the visions and hopes of the beneficiaries for a peaceful and prosperous community. These members of marginalized communities had placed their trust in you and hoped to fight for them in return.