1. How can E.O. 70 be utilized? How can it address the gaps in countering & defeating insurgency?
Executive Order Number 70 was signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on December 2018. It institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace, creating a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, and Directing the Adoption of a National Peace Framework. NTF ELCAC was created to synchronize the utilization of the government’s instrumentalities of power with the capabilities of private sector stakeholders to finally end the 50 years long deceit, lies and atrocities committed by the communist terrorist.
E.O. 70 can be utilized by how the government prioritize and harmonize the delivery of basic services and social development packages in conflict-affected areas and vulnerable communities facilitate societal inclusivity and ensure active participation of all sectors of society in the pursuit of the country’s peace agenda. E.O 70 involves all government agencies from the national to the barangay level with delineated roles and responsibilities in the whole-of-nation approach where compared to the past it was solely the problem of the AFP and the Philippine National Police to deal with. All departments, bureaus, agencies are directed to render the necessary support to the task force. Since this involves all departments, agencies, bureau and offices with all the same goal to attain peace, the implementation of the National Peace Framework will go much faster and will slowly eliminate the local armed communist. The framework contains principles, policies, plans and programs that will bring inclusive and sustainable peace, and address the root causes of insurgencies, internal disturbances and tensions as well as other armed conflicts and threats in identified areas. It will also be responsive to local needs and sensitive to realities on the ground, also include localized peace engagement or negotiation and interventions that is nationally orchestrated, directed and supervised, while being locally implemented.
Following its guidelines and policy being implemented by E.O. 70, the programs being implemented and with the help of the task force will address the gaps in countering and defeating the insurgency such as connecting the communication gaps between and among government communication platform and conduct strategic communications efforts to effectively disseminate information on government programs and counter the national propaganda of the CTG, while creating external mechanism to facilitate public engagement and policy support. Providing information dissemination to the public especially in the rural areas will give the community the knowledge and idea that their government has not abandoned them and will not be as vulnerable as they can be, awareness of the programs being implemented by the government will give them enough sense of hope to not be part of these local communist that gives false hope and promises. Providing responsive delivery of basic services to the affected areas and provide specialized programs to conflict-affected individuals, families and communities. Poverty reduction, providing livelihood and employment to the conflict affected areas and individuals, the local armed communist will have a hard time recruiting and brain washing the communities it will create resilient communities that thwart the return of the communist terrorist groups in their respective provinces and city. NTF ELCAC that institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach in obtaining exclusive and sustainable peace, gives us effective solution against communist-terrorists.
The AFP can now focus its resources, manpower, and firepower on the remaining communists who persist with armed struggle despite the government’s efforts and programs through cash assistance, providing livelihood and housing to the former rebels or affected families. The government can neutralize the groups that insist on seizing political power through armed struggle and other local terrorist groups like Abu Sayyaf. Through good governance we can counter their narratives and build trust amongst the public and earn the people’s respect. With the help of the public to stay vigilant, supportive and cooperative to help counter any future terrorist plans that may occur and avoid unnecessary loss of human lives and damage to property.