Employees of the local government of Santo Tomas were oriented on the implementation of Executive Order No. 70 series of 2018 which institutionalizes the Whole-of-Nation Approach in attaining sustainable peace and creating a task force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC).
Municipal Administrator and lawyer Elisa Evangelista-Lapiña said the conduct of the activity was in support to the thrust of President Rodrigo Duterte and Armed Forces of the Philippines’ call to support the implementation of EO 70 in the Municipality of Santo Tomas in a bid to defeat the local communist insurgency.
“We need to be educated with this kind of framework for us, in the level of our municipal government, could achieve inclusive and sustainable peace aimed to end local communist armed conflict in our areas,” Lapiña, who was the former Davao City’s Peace 911 focal, said.
A total of 300 individuals from LGU Santo Tomas including barangay captains attended the said activity held at the at Jollibee Function Hall in Santo Tomas, Davao del Norte.
Taking cue from her experience in Davao’s Paquibato District, Lapiña pointed out each town or city has a different settings and approaches in solving the communist insurgency.
“There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach if we are going to look at the EO 70 in as much as we desire to solve the insurgency. What’s good of E0 70 is the harmonization and the institutionalization of a national peace framework that could guide us to come up with a paradigm to end the communist insurgency,” she said.
Lapiña also pointed out that there’s a need to implement a paradigm shift to effectively implement the “Whole-of-Nation Approach” in addressing the communist insurgency in areas at Santo Tomas town believed to be a stronghold of the communists.
“Our main strategy really is to shift our programs of priorities in dealing this insurgency problem. One is to bring the basic social services of our government to isolated communities especially the IP communities. Our people need to feel that their government is working for them,” she said.
Lapiña disclosed that the establishment of Dangpanan ni Tomas, the social arm and working office of her mayor-father Ernesto Evangelista, is a program that satisfies the E0 70 by converging all the offices that are at the frontline of giving essential social services to the people.
“I personally believe that we need to have a culture of sensitivity in terms of providing services to our people. We need to have it so that we would enhance social cohesion with our people while earning back their trust especially those far-flung communities,” she said.
Tuesday’s event was attended by Maria Ruby Batingal, DILG’s ELCAC Focal Person, DILG Provincial Director Abito Bernasor, and Nale Archie Romitman, the Assistant Regional Director, NICA XI, and AFP’s 89th IB “Makatao” Commander LTC Silas Trasmontero, among others.
Batingal gave a presentation on the EO 70 and also explained the National Peace Framework being pushed by the government while Trasmontero gave a situational updates in the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAS) and Conflict-Affected Areas (CAAs) in Santo Tomas town. With reports from Sto. Tomas CIO