Rep. Torres pushes for talks between lawmakers, anti-insurgency drive stakeholders; backs continued funding of NTF-ELCAC

May 07,2021 - 03:36 PM

Lucy Torres-Gomez

Leyte Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez  | Contributed Photo| Contributed Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines –Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez today proposed the holding of a dialogue between lawmakers and stakeholders of the government’s anti-insurgency campaign, as she batted anew for the continued funding of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC).

Torres-Gomez stressed that the task force’s success in the Barangay Development program must continue, and not suffer the resentment triggered by the red-tagging issue. She said the conflict between legislators and the spokespersons of the NTF ELCAC cannot be resolved unless concerned parties sit down and reconcile their disagreements.

“There is always room for agreement, for reconciliation. I know that painful words have been said, but these should not be used as a reason to kill the dreams of thousands of our people who have fled the mountains in the hope of getting a better life once they return to the folds of the government. That is not right, that is not fair to them,” said Torres-Gomez in reference to the 14,721 rebel returnees and their families who will be affected if funding is cut for the development of their rebel-free  communities.

“It would be best at this time for all parties to come together for a dialogue where they can discuss and reconcile their differences. A dialogue would also be the perfect chance for lawmakers to see how the task force’s funds are being used,’ she added.

The representative from Leyte reiterated that defunding the  NTF ELCAC would be undoing the efforts of the government to stop the armed struggle in the countryside.

“Sayang naman ang gains natin. Nandyan na eh, naumpisahan na natin, nakikita na natin ang impact ng ginagawa ng gobyerno para sa mga rebel returnees. We have been successful in convincing them that the government is on their side, that the government is their partner in progress. And there can be no progress if there is no peace and order. And we cannot have peace and order if we don’t initiate development in their communities. Development has its costs, therefore it needs to have the financial resources to sustain it,” Torres-Gomez said.

“Let us all temper our arguments. Let us think of our kababayans who deserve the chance to live normal lives. Let us not take away from them their right to peace and progress. Why go for war when peace is an option.” she added. /PR

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