BAUANG, La Union — A task force to protect the region against insurgency through the efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the local government units, and the community has been launched in Region 1 (Ilocos).
The Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict is a spin-off from the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict chaired by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte.
“What we want to do is to preserve the gains and advances of progress and development in all these provinces. We have a lot to do in Region 1 with developmental efforts. If we cannot guard our provinces, how can we extend our expressway and the road networks? This time, it will not just be AFP who will operate, but civilian bureaucracy and the people will be involved, “National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said in a phone interview Monday.
Esperon said the new peace talks is not just about ceasefire, but of bringing government services to the people.
“We will bring services to the affected areas but at the same time, we will bring better services to the vulnerable areas which are not necessarily affected by insurgency,” he said.
The launching last week was held alongside the joint meeting of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) chaired by Ilocos Norte Governor and Senator-elect Imee Marcos and the Regional Development Council (RDC) chaired by Vigan City Mayor Juan Carlo Medina.
Esperon announced during the meeting his designation as the supervisor or overseer for the Region 1 task force.
“We are here today because of Executive Order 70 that was issued last December 2018 by President Rodrigo Duterte. The RPOC and the RDC are the two regional councils that I would now be visiting every now and then as the Cabinet Officer for the Regional Development and Security (CORDS),” said Esperon, who hails from Asingan town in Pangasinan. Liwayway Yparraguirre / PNA – northboundasia.com