By: Jennifer P. Rendon
POVERTY is the root cause of insurgency.
And if poverty is the problem, solving it would be the government’s main concern in a bid to end the decades-long insurgency problem.
On Monday, July 8, 2019, different government agencies met to organize the regional Livelihood, Poverty Reduction and Employment Cluster created by Executive Order No. 70.
EO 70 is the “Institutionalization of the Whole of Nation Approach in Attaining Inclusive and Sustainable Peace and the Creation of National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.”
Gaspar Gayona, regional director of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), said they are organizing and coming up with a Regional Cluster Action Plan.
TESDA is the chair of the Livelihood, Poverty Reduction and Employment Cluster.
As of June 2019, records showed that there are 26 rebel-influenced and 51 less influences barangays in the region.
Capiz has 6 six influenced barangays while Iloilo has 5 influenced and six less influenced villages.
On the other hand, Negros Occidental has 15 influenced and 45 less influenced villages in the region.
By July 25, there will be a meeting of the governors and the mayors to cascade what will be discussed down to the barangay level.
“After the profiling of affected barangays, that’s where the agencies would sit down to craft the projects,” Gayona said.
In putting up enterprises and livelihood, he said they would be needing the expertise and help of other agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Gayona said their focus now is to come up with a convergence network in coming up with a project or a business plan.
Since almost all affected areas are into agri-based economy, Gayona said the projects will be anchored on agriculture.
“We would do the necessary assessment and study the area for the suitable project like food processing, breads and pastries making, and the likes,” he said.
Gayona said they hoped to organize these areas for whatever business or enterprise that could be put up on their locality.
“We always say that the cause of insurgency is poverty. And by solving poverty, we are also offering solution to the problem of insurgency. That’s why we are not limiting to poverty alleviation.
We are going into poverty reduction,” he said.
Initially, these programs are seen to be implemented on a medium-term, which could last until 2022 or the end of the stint of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“But if these interventions are successful, I think the EO 79 could even go earlier than that,” Gayona said.
Earlier the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it is possible to end the problem of insurgency during Duterte’s presidency.
“Yes, especially with the creation of the National Task Force,” Armed Forces chief of staff General Benjamin Madrigal, Jr. said.
The creation of the National Task Force is seen to ensure the efficient institutionalization of the whole-of-nation approach which seeks to address the root of insurgency.
On March 25, 2019 , Madrigal led the signing of Whole of Nation Commitment by stakeholders and different government agencies in Region 6.
The forging of agreement is relative to EO 70 where the signatories commit themselves to actively support the operationalization and institutionalization of the Whole-of-Nation approach and “to unselfishly share their resources for the realization of a complete victory; and the total eradication of the root causes of the conflict and violence.”