Village chiefs of insurgency-cleared barangays in Escalante City, Negros Occidental have cited the role of the Barangay Development Program (BDP) in uplifting the lives of people benefitting from its implementation.
In a statement issued through the Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion (79IB), Association of Barangay Captains president Richardy Pios Sr. of Paitan, along with village chiefs John Paul Escala of Mabini, Neptalie Narvasa of Libertad, and Edgar Rapana of Pinapugasan, jointly expressed their strong appreciation for the delivery of infrastructure and other development projects to their respective communities through the program.
According to 1st Lt. Dansan Camua, civil-military operations officer of the 79IB, their unit is closely working with the insurgency-cleared villages in northern Negros in the implementation of the BDP of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
The four villages were among the seven barangays which received PHP20.695 million worth of farm tractors from the BDP on October 11.
“We manifest our gratitude and appreciation for [these] projects. The program gives us the encouragement to live peaceful, productive and progressive lives. We take this opportunity to express our recognition for what the BDP has accomplished in uplifting communities nationwide,” the barangay captains said.
They noted that before, their barangays have “suffered from lack of basic services such as good roads, health and education, infrastructure, potable water, and health facilities as well as livelihood opportunities, which caused despair and hopelessness”.
Social issues such as these led many of their constituents to “believe the false assurance and propaganda” of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), they added.
“With the implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s flagship project, the BDP, through the NTF-ELCAC, we now realize that the government is concerned with our welfare and means of livelihood. Through the BDP, the government is investing not only on roads, schools and other projects, but in essence, it is investing for the improvement of the lives of its citizens and a promise of a better future,” the village chiefs said in a joint statement.
Escalante City has the most number of insurgency-cleared villages in Negros Occidental with 14, which are listed as recipients of the Local Government Support Fund-Support to Barangay Development Program.
The BDP allocates a PHP20-million fund for each barangay for the implementation of various development and rehabilitation projects in these former conflict-prone communities.
With the end goal of bringing development to former conflict-prone communities, the BDP has a total of PHP16.44 billion allocated funding to rehabilitate and develop 822 barangays formerly established as guerrilla fronts of the CPP-NPA.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)