Wednesday, October 28, 2020

More than 800 barangays to profit by ₱16B advancement program to overcome revolt

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said a total of 822 barangays will benefit from a development program meant to keep their villages free from the influence of communist insurgents.

Esperon told a Laging Handa briefing on Wednesday that the Barangay Development Program is designed to help local communities that were once under the influence of the New People's Army (NPA).

He said the so-called "guerilla bases" of the NPA were located in disadvantaged barangays that were hard to reach. He said the government is working to get rid of these with a combination of economic programs, political programs and military programs.

"Kailangan talaga mawala sila doon sa guerilla bases, dahil hangga't merong...malakas na guerilla ay lalo lamang mabibigyan ng lakas itong mga galamay nila, or front organizations... Kailangan natin itong clearning na ito," Esperon said.

[Translation: They have to be taken out of these guerilla bases because for as long as there are strong guerrillas, their reach is stronger, too... We need to have them cleared.]

He added that the usual patrolling and placement of detachments were not effective as there were many socio-economic problems in those areas.

Esperon also said the National Security Council has asked that P16.44 billion be allotted for the program which will help fund the building of schools, farm-to-market roads, health stations, and waterworks and irrigation programs, as well as a forest protection program for people's livelihood.

"Sasabay na rin ang iba't-ibang programa ng gobyerno para mapabuti yung buhay ng mga tao roon," he said. "Kung magagawa natin ito, kung makukuha natin ang pondo nito na nandiyan pa naman sa Kongreso, hiningi natin ang ₱16.44 billion, sa tingin ko tuluy-tuloy nang mawawala yung guerilla bases ng mga NPA. Ito ang gamot natin sa mga barangay."

[Translation: We will include other government programs to improve the lives of people there. If we can do this, if we can secure the funds which is already in Congress, we are asking for P16.44 billion, I believe we can continuously wipe out the NPA guerilla bases. This is the cure for insurgency in barangays.]

Esperon said the initial target number of barangays was 1,400, but they could only accommodate 822 for 2021.

"Ito yung mga barangay na na-clear natin sa impluwensiya ng NPA, Communist Party of the Philippines noong 2016 to 2019," he added.

[Translation: These are the barangays we have cleared from the influence of the NPA, Communist Party of the Philippines from 2016 to 2019.]

He also denied allegations that this was a form of pork barrel.

"Hindi ko alam kung saan nanggagaling yung akusasyon na 'yan..." Esperon said. "Palibhasa may mga tao na sanay mag-pork barrel, hindi naman tayo 'yan... Tayo, diretsong serbisyo sa tao. I will deny in the strongest terms that this is a form of pork barrel."

[Translation: I do not know where those accusations are coming from...Maybe because some people are so used to having pork barrel, but we are not like that... We give direct service to the people. I will deny in the strongest terms that this is a form of pork barrel.]

Esperon has not identified the barangays which would be included in the program.


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