June 20, 2024

Various national government agencies and civil society organizations (CSOs) have reaffirmed their commitment to support insurgency-cleared barangays in the Cordillera.

The Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (Elcac) convened on March 26 in Baguio City for the second Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) convergence.

The meeting aimed to review and assess the progress of the member agencies in fulfilling their commitments to address insurgency, and promote peace and development in Elcac-identified barangays, since the first RCSP convergence in 2023.

A program matching workshop was conducted to identify potential matches, collaborations, and areas of alignment between the programs of national government agencies, civil society organizations, and Elcac barangays.

Department of the Interior and Local Government Regional Director Araceli San Jose said convergence is vital in identifying what other agencies and CSOs can contribute to the development of the barangays identified under the Support to Barangay Development Program (SBDP), especially since the SBDP fund was reduced this year.

The approved fund for the SBDP under the 2024 General Appropriations Act is P2.16 billion for 864 beneficiary barangays, 54 of them in the Cordillera. 

She also highlighted the value of convergence in attaining peace and development in communities.

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista, the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security for the Cordillera, in his message conveyed by DOTr Assistant Regional Director Jose Villacorta, expressed his support for the RCSP, which he said aligns with the efforts of different stakeholders to achieve sustained peace in the barangays. – Debbie E. Gasingan