Projects at stake for conflict-affected and vulnerable towns in Central Visayas

Projects at stake for conflict-affected and vulnerable towns in Central Visayas

Hundreds of programs and projects are planned in a joint effort by National Government Agencies (NGAs) following the creation of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) in Central Visayas, headed by Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino.

Among the four provinces in Central Visayas, Negros Oriental remains to be the only communist affected province. Recipients of these projects in the municipalities of Negros Oriental are Canlaon City, Guihulngan City, Valencia, Zamboangita, Siaton, and Sta. Catalina.

Last September 16, the 12 different clusters presented their programs and projects to Secretary Dino in line with operationalizing the Executive Order 70 that was signed by the President last December 4, 2018.

The goal is to prioritize and harmonize the delivery of basic services and social development projects in conflict-affected areas and vulnerable communities, facilitate social inclusivity, and ensure participation from all sectors. Under the Basic Services Cluster headed by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) 7, a total of 43 projects are planned, worth a total of P13.6 million.

Other clusters headed by the DILG-7 are the Local Peace Engagement Cluster which is set to implement 6 projects with P444,400 budget; the E-clip and Amnesty Program Cluster with 9 projects and a P6.7 million budget allocation; and, the Local Government Empowerment Cluster with 28 planned projects.

The Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster headed by Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) 7 will implement 16 programs and projects which aim to develop self-reliant, resilient and sustainable communities through harmonized culturally responsive development programs. Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) 7 heads Sectoral Unification, Capacity-building and Empowerment Cluster, which was allotted nearly P10 million for 9 projects.

To help out with information caravan in spreading these plans and projects is the Strategic Communication Cluster headed by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) 7. Other clusters that presented their programs and projects are Situational Awareness and Knowledge Management chaired by National Intelligence Coordinating Agency; Legal Cooperation headed by Department of Justice (DOJ) 7; Infrastructure, Resource Management and Employment which is headed by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 and Department of Public Works and Highways (DWPH) 7; Peace, Law Enforcement and Development Support headed by Department of National Defense; and, International Engagement which is headed by Department of Foreign Affairs.

Secretary Dino thanked all the chairs and co-chairs of each cluster and is hopeful that these programs will be fully implemented, further reiterating the goal of having an insurgency-free Negros Oriental by 2021. Secretary Dino was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to be the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) in Central Visayas./HTL