Governors, mayors, members of the RDC and the RPOC, core players of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) and technical staffs of LGUs and RLAs, numbering almost 500 converged at the Iloilo Convention Center, Iloilo Business Park on July 25, 2019 to orient newly-elected officials about security-related concerns and measures being pursued all over the country and specifically for priority provinces of Western Visayas.

The activity was co-organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

Secretary Roy A. Cimatu of the DENR and Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Western Visayas delivered the keynote message highlighting the importance of political will, eradicating poverty, good governance, effective service delivery, and environmental preservation as an approach to end insurgency and achieve inclusive and sustainable peace.

Deputy Director-General Rufino Lopez of the National Security Council presented the National Plan of Action to End Local Communist Armed Conflict while DILG Assistant Secretary for Peace and Order Manuel Felix discussed the highlights of Executive Order No. 70 and the Retooled Community Support Program.   Director Susana Marcaida of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) shared updates on the peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas – Revolutionary Proletarian Army – Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB).  On the regional insurgency situation, Brigadier General Eric Vinoya of the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) of the Philippine Army maintained that the region is generally peaceful but there are still conflict-affected barangays in three provinces that require government intervention.

To guide the participants in the workshop, NEDA-VI Regional Director Ro-Ann A. Bacal presented the mechanics of the workshop and the Next Steps highlighting the specific roles of the LGUs in identifying priority problems and formulating initiatives. She likewise emphasized the importance of convergence among agencies in harmonizing interventions to ensure the appropriate delivery of services.  The Western Visayas Plan for Peace and Development adopting the catchphrase “KaPaYaPaan” (magKAsama Patungo sa mapaYApang PAg-unlad) will be the final output of emanating from regional and local consultations.

To signify their support to end the local communist armed conflict, a pledge of commitment was signed by the participants.