The Region VI Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) was formally organized on June 20, 2019 at the RDC Conference Hall, NEDA-VI Office, Fort San Pedro Road, Iloilo City. In behalf of the Regional Development Council,    RD Ro-Ann A. Bacal of NEDA-VI welcomed the 70 participants from selected national government agencies from the National Security Council, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), and regional directors and representatives of frontline national government agencies.

RD Bacal highlighted the need for the active involvement of agencies and LGUs in the implementation of Executive Order No. 70 and the implementation plan for the 12 clusters of the National Task Force in ending local communist armed conflict.  She emphasized that this peace, order, and security effort is implementing the 0-10 Socioeconomic Agenda of the President and the Regional Development Plan.

In his message, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Region VI, briefly traced the history of insurgency particularly in Western Visayas from the 1970s up to the present. Brigadier General Gavin D. Edjawan, Head Executive Assistant to Secretary Cimatu, presented a short lecture on “Winning the Peace: Lessons Learned in the Philippines’ Long Quest for Internal Security”.

DDG Rufino S. Lopez, Jr. of the National Security Council presented the highlights of the Plan to End Local Communist Armed Conflict while Director Susana H. Marcaida of OPAPP reported on the Status of Local Peace Negotiation and Government Commitments to End Insurgency.   Brigadier General Eric C. Vinoya, the Assistant Division Commander of the Philippine Army Third Infantry Division, briefed the participants on the Insurgency Situation and Priority Conflict Areas for Government Intervention.

The following National Government Agencies briefly shared their ongoing programs to help combat insurgency in the region: DAR, DA, DOT, DTI, DENR, DOST, DOH, DOLE, DSWD, TESDA, DILG, PNP, DICT and NCIP.

Mr. Rene D. Ato of the Department of Interior and Local Government VI explained  the next steps to be undertaken by the RTF which include the upcoming orientation of recently elected officials on July 11-12, 2019 and the conduct of a workshop to plan out for priority interventions along the 12 clusters for identified conflict-affected barangays.  The end outputs will be the Barangay Peace and Development Plans which will include programs and projects committed by member agencies of the cluster.

In a related development, the Regional Development Council, during its 2nd quarter meeting on June 21, 2019, passed a resolution confirming the establishment of the RTF-ELCAC.