THE DAVAO REGION Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC), composed of the five provinces in the region, presidents of the league of municipalities, component cities, highly urbanized cities, national agencies, and civil-society organizations, have tackled the continued efforts to maintain peace and order in the region during its full council meeting IN dAVAO cITY on Friday, November 8.
In his opening statement, Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, who presided his first meeting as the new RPOC chairman, shared to his fellow members his province’s best practices in peace and development, particularly its implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 70 or Whole-of-Nation approach to attain peace and to end insurgency.
The said national directive which all provinces in Davao Region has been taking seriously to implement through the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) was among the meeting’s highlights.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Director Alex Roldan discussed the major activities undertaken by the RTF-ELCAC through its twelve clusters and the gains so far achieved under the Whole-of-Nation approach.
While the region has already made huge progress in terms of the implementation of the President’s Executive Order 70, he also pointed out the steps that needs to be undertaken to further push the region’s peace and order agenda. This include the organization and activation of the technical working group of the RTF-ELCAC; development of an effective coordination, monitoring and implementation system; strengthening of the information campaign on EO 70 and ELCAC among communities, while ensuring that all programs, projects, and activities of the RTF-ELCAC are aligned with the goal of ending the Communist armed conflict.
ELCAC Operation Center
To further help the region on its mission of meeting the President’s deadline to end the Communist insurgency, talks about the establishment of an operation center for the RTF-ELCAC have been discussed.
While Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib has benevolently volunteered to provide the facility to house the operation center, the facility still needs to be equipped with communication channels, manpower and operations team, logistics, and funding, explained Colonel Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, 10th Infantry Division G7 who also presented the functions and rationale of creating an operation center.
In response, the governors of Davao Region have made initial talks with regards to the provision of the necessary requirements for the operation center.
Set to be operational 24/7, the Operation Center will serve as the main hub for the enhanced coordination and collaboration among the stakeholders in pushing counter-insurgency measures and will serve as the operations arm of the National Task Force Executive Committee by monitoring and supervising the implementation of programs, projects, and activities at regional and sub-regional levels.
Along with other strategies, the RPOC is banking on all stakeholders’ support towards the success of all its peace and order efforts.
He attributed this on strong convergence, particularly the efforts of the Local Government Units. He said that based on historical data, 80 percent of those NPA members who surrendered were facilitated by the LGUs, adding that enemy recruitment is now close to zero in Davao Region.
“We already have the momentum, the good thing to do now – with the ELCAC and through this platform the RPOC – let’s continue what we are doing, especially in terms of convergence so that they (the NPA Communist rebels) will not be able to come back here,” 10th Infantry Division Commander Major General Jose Faustino Jr. underscored, adding that the benchmark of the national government in terms of countering insurgency is Region eleven.
Other highlights discussed during the RPOC meeting was the peace and order situation update in the region which was presented by the 10th Infantry Division, Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police. Both agencies are headed by the RPOC vice chairpersons 10th ID Commander Major General Jose Faustino Jr. and PNP XI Regional Director Police Brigadier General Filmore Escobal.
Meanwhile, among those undertaken during the meeting was the nomination of new members coming from the civil-society organizations (CSO) and one representation from a component city. Also presented was the Retooled Community Support Program which was discussed by the DILG Regional Director. By Karen Lou Deloso