Sultan Kudarat Gov. Suharto T. Mangudadatu delivers his welcome remarks during the 5th Meeting of the RTF-ELCAC XII on January 31, 2020 in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat. From left: Ian John S. Clemente of DILG XII representing Director Josephine C. Leysa, Director Teresita Socorro P. Carrasco-Ramos of NEDA XII, Gov. Mangudadatu, Secretary Isidro S. Lapeña of TESDA, M/Gen. Diosdado C. Carreon of the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division, and Director Reynaldo V. Olaa of NSC representing Usec. Damian L. Carlos.

Isulan, Sultan Kudarat – The Provincial Government of Sultan Kudarat headed by Governor Suharto T. Mangudadatu hosted the 5th meeting of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) XII on January 31, 2020 at the South Country View, National Highway, Dansuli, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat.

TESDA Secretary Isidro S. Lapeña, PhD., CSEE, Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for SOCCSKSARGEN Region, presided over the meeting attended by the heads of  different regional line agencies (RLAs), local chief executives, representatives of civil society organizations, police officers, and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

In his message, Secretary Lapeña emphasized the importance of winning the battle against poverty, injustices, and social inequalities, as these are the root causes of communist insurgency in the country. “The government must effectively carry out good governance in the bureaucracy through building credibility, integrity, and transparency in serving the people,” he added. Likewise, he requested the concerned RLAs to prioritize the allocation of funds for the implementation of programs and projects in the priority barangays in the region to make the people feel the presence of the government.

Governor Mangudadatu, in his welcome message, enjoined other provincial governors to host the succeeding meetings of the task force and to maximize this rare opportunity to showcase their provinces. The governor also emphasized that Sultan Kudarat is a peaceful and progressive province. He appealed to the regional directors of the different RLAs and other stakeholders to support the Sultan Kudarat’s tourism industry and economy by conducting conferences, seminars, and exhibits in the province, particularly in the towns of Isulan and Esperanza.

Among the issues discussed were: (a) the need to further intensify the efforts of the task force through good governance; (b) the implementation of programs and projects that directly address the needs of the priority communities; (c) the vital roles of local government units in pursuing localized peace engagements; (d) the issue of land conflict in Sultan Kudarat caused by the issuances of overlapping land tenurial instruments and Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA); and (e)  the proposed road connecting Magpet, Cotabato Province and Davao City.

Secretary Lapeña highlighted the urgency of attaining the goal of ending communist insurgency before President Rodrigo R. Duterte steps down in 2022.  (Jose Anthony Laurent P. Octavio, NEDA XII-PFPD)