Summit Hotel, Tacloban City, Leyte
March 18, 2021

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte sent a strong declaration against the Communist Party of the Philippines – National Democratic Front – New People’s Army (CPP-NDF-NPA) when he presided the Joint Meeting of the National Task Force – Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict Eastern Visayas (NTF-RTF-ELCAC VIII) in Tacloban City, Leyte.

“Hindi naman talaga ninyo kaya ang gobyerno, not in a million years of fighting,” remarked President Duterte in the meeting that formed part of the Philippine Government’s renewed efforts to push an end to communist insurgency and develop conflict-affected areas across the country through a whole-of-nation approach and good governance.

With communist influence in Eastern Visayas continually declining, President Duterte firmly stated that the communist ideology is “dead”.

“Ngayon, 53 years after, wala akong nakitang na-achieve ng komunista. Wala akong nakitang progress sa kalihukan (movement) rather it has become a group of bandits solely,” the President said.

Eastern Visayas has always been considered a communist ‘hotbed’ and has been deprived of economic gains despite its huge potential due to security issues. But since the activation of the NTF-ELCAC on 4 December 2018 under Executive Order No. 70 issued by the President, seven (7) of the 11 communist fronts have already been dismantled by the Task Force, with over 2,000 rebels made to surrender.

The meeting held by the Task Force prior to the President’s arrival provided an avenue for the launch of Barangay Development Program (BDP), the nationwide banner program of the Task Force — a package of socioeconomic development programs earmarked for areas cleared of communist infestation.

“We implemented the Barangay Development Program not only to address local communist armed conflict, but also to improve the welfare of our citizens in their area, geographically isolated and disadvantaged,” President Duterte said.

Under the BDP, a total of PhP20 million each will be distributed to 200 barangays in Eastern Visayas to fund structural upgrades such as health stations, irrigation, rural electrification, school buildings and farm-to-market roads.

President Duterte likewise promised agrarian reform beneficiaries a total of 2,334 hectares of land that will be distributed in the region and will be further developed through the assistance of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD).

“I know that this problem cannot be solved overnight. That is why I am asking for the cooperation and solidarity of all sectors of society in ending this armed conflict once and for all,” President Duterte told the concerned officials present during the meeting.

“With your support and patriotism, I am confident that we will triumph over the challenges ahead of us,” he added.

This event is the 2nd in a series of meetings that the Chief Executive will embark to push for the end of insurgency in the country and ensure the people that the government remains committed in eradicating the decades-long threat once and for all.