President Rodrigo Roa Duterte joined the National Task Force – Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF – RTF ELCAC) meeting in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro on November 18. ​​​​​​​

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go was also present at the event, along with a number of cabinet secretaries and officials and over 200 representatives from national and regional government offices, local government units (LGUs), and local media.

The joint meeting aimed to showcase ELCAC related accomplishments and completed projects in the provinces of Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, and Romblon (MIMARO) under the President’s administration. Switching on of National Power Corporation’s (NPC) Occidental Mindoro-Oriental Mindoro Interconnection Transmission Lines was one of the highlights of the event.

​​​​​​​The following ELCAC related accomplishments and completed projects under the present  administration were also presented: (a) PTF ELCAC MIMARO accomplishments; (b) aviation and port development projects of the  Department of Transportation projects in MIMARO provinces; (c) MIMARO By the Numbers: Department of Public Works and Highway Accomplishment Report 2016-2021; (d) Department of Agriculture’s One DA Reform Agenda; Department of Science and Technology MIMAROPA’s Hatid ay Makabagong Solusyon; d) Department of Social Welfare and Development MIMAROPA’s Serbisyong May Puso Saan Man sa MIMAROPA; (e) Department of Health MIMAROPA’s 2016 – 2021 milestone projects in MIMARO provinces; (f) National Commission on Indigenous Peoples’ Indigenous Peoples Empowerment programs and activities; (g)Technical Education and SKills Development Authority  MIMAROPA TVET Situationer and 2021 Scholarship Program report; (h) Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Projects in MIMARO provinces; (i) Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) Local Government Support Fund (LGSF) completed project in MIMARO provinces; and (j) Department of Environment and Natural Resources MIMAROPA project in MIMARO provinces.

Meanwhile, National President of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) and Marinduque Governor Presbitero J. Velasco Jr. expressed his strong and full support to the President’s anti-insurgency program. As a show of support, he said that the LPP passed a resolution urging Congress to approve the PhP28 billion fund allocation for the Barangay Development Program of the NTF-ELCAC in the FY 2022 General Appropriations Bill. Said proposed budget allocation will continue to support the efforts and role of barangays in ensuring peace and order in local communities. He assured everyone that the LPP and the Provincial Government of Marinduque are one with the President in fighting communist insurgency and terrorism.

The pre-program of the joint NTF-RTF ELCAC was capped off by a turnover of project to beneficiaries by the DAR. DAR Secretary Bernie F. Cruz and DAR MIMAROPA Regional Director Atty. Marvin V. Bernal led the turnover of various support services interventions to Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Organizations (ARBO) in Oriental Mindoro. These various support interventions included the following: (a) renovation of Processing Center and Food Processing Support Facilities to the United Farmers Association of Tawas worth PhP800,000.00; (b) One Unit Four-Wheel Drive Farm Tractor with Rotavator to Malaya Agrarian Reform and Beneficiaries Farmers Association worth PhP1.12 million; (c) one-unit Amphitiller (with engine) and one unit power sprayer to Samahang Kapit Bisig ng Happy Valley worth PhP52,330; and (d) one unit mini-cargo truck and one unit weighing scale to Malubay Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association worth PhP600,000. 

Prior to the President’s Hour, Duterte graced the inauguration of eight integrated seaport development projects in the Island of Mindoro as well as the inspection of Calapan Port Passenger Terminal and Sentrong Pangkabataan Complex in Calapan City.  He was accompanied by Senator Go, Department of Transportation  (DOTr) Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA)  General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago, Philippine Coast Guard Commandant Vice Admiral Leopoldo V. Laroya,  Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito “Bonz” A. Dolor, and representatives from PPA Oriental Mindoro and Philippine Coast Guard.

Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito A. Dolor expressed his profound gratitude to the President. DOTr Secretary Tugade, and PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago also thanKed Duterte for  the realization of the seaport development projects. Said projects are testament that the national government recognizes the strategic role that Mindoro Island, particularly Oriental Mindoro, plays as ‘the gateway to Visayas and Mindanao islands’  in delivering goods and services from the mainland Luzon. He hopes  that these projects will provide ease and convenience to  travel and bolster the province’s vision to be the key destination for trade, investment, and tourism.

Meanwhile, Sec. Tugade expressed his joy in witnessing another set of completed projects made possible by the DOTr in the Island of Mindoro under President Duterte’s administration. The seaport development projects are located in the municipality of Abra De Ilog in Occidental Mindoro and in the municipalities of Bulalacao, Mansalay, Roxas, Bansud, Pinamalayan, Puerto Galera, and Calapan City in Oriental Mindoro. Said projects are expected to improve connectivity, trade and commerce, and tourism in Mindoro and nearby provinces in the Visayas. He assured everyone that DOTr is also committed in developing airports in the MIMARO provinces.

​​​​​​​In his message, Duterte  emphasized his commitment to ensure fair and equal share in fund allotment among LGUs  to support local infrastructure development. He hoped that the eight public infrastructure development projects, made possible by the Build, Build, Build flagship program, will improve lives, mobility, connectivity and boost economic and tourism activities in the province. He encouraged fellow public servants and private sector partners to continue working together to achieve inclusive progress. Said progress calls for fair and more responsive public services, which will inspire Filipinos to be more proactive in the shared task of nation-building.

After the inauguration activities, the President  and his entourage joined the NTF-RTF ELCAC meeting at the Bulwagang Panlalawigan, Provincial Capitol Complex in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.

In his welcome remarks, Oriental Mindoro Governor Dolor expressed his gratitude to the President for visiting the province once again. He emphasized that the role of the youth in nation-building and significance of various public transport infrastructure development will improve lives and economy of the province. Further, he said that the Sentrong Pangkabataan Complex amounting to PhP130 million will serve as platform to develop and hone skills and dreams of the youth to have a better future.

On the other hand, MIMAROPA Regional Development Council (RDC) Chairperson and Romblon Governor Jose R. Riano delivered his message emphasizing that peace and security are the main bedrock foundations to attain a holistic development in MIMAROPA. He  expressed his gratitude to everyone, particularly to all regional directors, LGUs, and private sector representatives in MIMAROPA, who served as partners in the effort to improve the quality of life  of MIMAROPAns and in building just and lasting peace in the region.  

Sec. Esperon highlighted the NTF-ELCAC efforts in addressing communist insurgency in the country, particularly in MIMAROPA. He said that the NTF-ELCAC is making great strides in dismantling CTGs across the country and in weakening its forces. He emphasized the importance and impacts of Support to Barangay Development Program or SBDP projects in CTG-affected barangays. He urged everyone to continue supporting the NTF-ELCAC in its fight against communist insurgency.

Meanwhile, President Duterte, Senator Go, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, NPC President and Chief Executive Officer Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos, Occidental Mindoro Governor Eduardo B. Gadiano, and Oriental Mindoro Governor Dolor led the ceremonial switch-on of NPC’s Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro Interconnection Transmission Lines. The construction and rehabilitation of the 69KV loop transmission lines system in the north and south portions of the island of Mindoro creates a one-grid system that will make the export and import of power possible between the Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative and Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative (ORMECO) franchise areas, thereby benefitting 88,500 households in Occidental Mindoro and 198,500 households in Oriental Mindoro. The  interconnection of the transmission lines connects the whole Mindoro Island to NPC’s main grid.

Meanwhile, MIMAROPA Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security and Energy Secretary Aflonso G. Cusi delivered his report to the President. He highlighted the accomplishments of  the region under the President’s Agenda for Peace and Order, significantly reducing criminality, anti-drug campaign, ending insurgency, and uplifting lives of Filipinos, particularly in the MIMARO provinces. He expressed his gratitude to everyone for continuously supporting the administration in achieving peace and development in MIMAROPA.

In closing, the President  acknowledged the presence of all local chief executives, department secretaries, and other guests in the event. He emphasized his commitment against illegal drugs and in building a comfortable and safe community.

On the other hand, he expressed his disappointment in several key issues such as the  government’s efforts to accommodate concerns of communist rebels; perpetration of communists in drugs and terrorism; and the 2022 SBDP budget cut made by the Senate. The approval of proposed 2022 SBDP fund will ensure progress and development of CTG cleared barangays. He said that the SBDP of the NTF-ELCAC remains to be one of the most effective and significant programs of the government in combatting insurgency. He urged all local government executives in MIMAROPA to synergize efforts with the NTF and RTF ELCAC in fighting lawlessness and insurgency, and support the programs of the administration in achieving sustainable peace and security.

Moreover, he urged all concerned agencies in the region to undertake all the necessary actions to address the decades-long power crisis in Mindoro and work together in ensuring reliable and efficient power source for continued growth of local economy and improved quality of lives of Mindoreños.

The President  commended the  joint efforts of the local government and non-government organizations in pursuing programs and projects that support the development of the youth, who are the future leaders of the country. He said that the Sentrong Pangkabataan Complex will empower the youth and improve their leadership skills, among others. 

He also  assured everyone that his administration remains committed in supporting the endeavors of LGUs that empower  different sectors of the society, in securing lasting peace in the county, and in building stronger and safer future for the next generation.