Best way to defeat the insurgency

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    EVEN before the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) made its indelible mark in the nation’s consciousness, one of its leading proponents — Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., chief of the Southern Luzon Command — had been showing the way by example that fighting the communist insurgency is not just through the use of firearms and bullets.

    In fact, pure and simple community service and government’s caring for the poorest of the poor who live in mountain communities like the Mangyans of Mindoro are the best weapons in leading the masses away from the duplicity and deceit of the Communist Party and its New People’s Army.

    In the countryside, Parlade has initiated several agricultural projects wherein the indigenous people who are being victimized by the NPA are given seeds and fertilizers and credit to grow root crops and rice, that have made their lives economically sustainable. The Mangyans of Mindoro, for instance, no longer believe in the propaganda and promises of the NPA rebels for they see palpable results in the activities of government officials like Parlade.

    In fact, pure and simple community service and government’s caring for the poorest of the poor who live in mountain communities like the Mangyans of Mindoro are the best weapons in leading the masses away from the duplicity and deceit of the Communist Party and its New People’s Army.

    Realizing that one of the greatest hindrances to progress the IPs face is the lack of electricity and light, the Poverty Reduction and Livelihood Cluster (PRLEC) of NFT-ELCAC which is led by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has been training tribal leaders in harnessing solar energy to light up their mountain villages. It was reported 100 Mangyans in Sitio Proper, Barangay Panaytayan, Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro were able to provide their barangay with a dependable lighting system at night using solar power. They were able to do this only after a short period of training under TESDA, the PRLEC, and the NFT-ELCAC.

    The Mangyans were trained in solar light assembly and installation and were provided with enough facilities to light up their own community. Secretary Isidro Lapeña, TESDA director general, congratulated the cluster for its accomplishments in helping far-flung communities in Mimaropa or Region 4-B achieve some level of development.
    Lapeña and Parlade said they talk with the locals and ask them what they need in order to improve their living conditions. Together with partner-agencies, these government officials provide the needed services and assistance until the community develops. At the same time, they earn back the poor people’s trust in the government.

    In Mansalay, the TESDA 4-B, PRLEC-Mimaropa launched the Sanayang Pailaw sa Daan together with the municipal government of Mansalay, the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro, and other partners in Sitio Proper, Barangay Panaytayan. In nearby Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro meanwhile, TESDA just inaugurated its new provincial training center to further boost the transfer of technology and skills to aid the rural folk. For instance, 50 students are training in motorcycle/small engine servicing, which is very much in demand in these places were two-wheel vehicles are the common means of transportation.

    It is through these concrete government efforts that we might finally put an end to the killings and the insurgency, as President Duterte had wished.