The Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) IX passed Resolution No. 42, series of 2022, declaring Zamboanga Peninsula (ZamPen) under the state of Stable Internal Peace and Security. The said resolution was passed during the meeting of the RTF-ELCAC on 14 June 2022 at the 1st Infantry “TABAK” Division, Philippine Army, Kuta Major Cesar L. Sang-an, Pulacan, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur.  Also, the said declaration was second throughout the country after Region I.

The meeting was presided by RTF-ELCAC IX Chairperson Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Region IX.

During the meeting, Brigadier General Leonel M Nicolas, Commander of the 102nd Brigade Infantry, Philippine Army presented Zamboanga Peninsula’s peace and security status highlighting the collaborative efforts of the members of the Peace, Law Enforcement and Development Support Custer of RTF-ELCAC IX and the successful civilian-led dismantling of the remaining guerilla front, the Big Beautiful Country (BBC) in the first quarter of 2022. Major General Generoso M Ponio, Commander of the 1st Infantry “TABAK” Division along with BGen Nicolas, and Lieutenant Coronel Jo-Ar A Herrera, Commander of the 53rd Infantry Brigade received commendation for their remarkable contribution in the attainment of the desired peaceful environment in Zamboanga Peninsula. With stable internal peace and security, the region will become more attractive for private investments.  A peaceful environment is a necessary condition for creating economic opportunities, which in turn can generate employment and thus ensure stable income among the residents.

(L-R) MGen Ponio receives plaque of recognition from CORDS IX Sec. Rolando Joselito D. Bautista who was joined by RDC IX Chairperson Gov. Victor J. Yu and Usec. Rene Glen O. Paje of DSWD

NEDA Regional office IX and DILG IX received a plaque of recognition from RTF-ELCAC IX for their commitment, dedication, and valuable contribution to the success of all RTF-ELCAC IX undertakings in the region as the overall Secretariat of the task force. The RTF-ELCAC also acknowledged and recognized the significant contribution of some regional line agencies (RLAs), Local Chief Executives, and individuals for their valuable contributions to RTF-ELCAC IX and in helping achieve inclusive and sustainable peace through intensified development and other peace-building initiatives in conflict-affected and vulnerable communities in Zamboanga Peninsula.

In his message, Sec. Bautista lauded Pres. Duterte for institutionalizing the Whole-of-Nation (WON) Approach for collective participation and action in harmonizing government development efforts and services to pursue the country’s peace agenda. He expressed his gratitude for the implementation of the Barangay Development Program for FY 2021 and FY 2022 and hoped that the program would be continued. The BDP was aimed at harmonizing government’s efforts in bringing development to the countryside. As of June 2022, the implementation of the FY 2021 BDP in Zamboanga Peninsula was already near completion. RTF-ELCAC IX’s accomplishments proved that the funds were effectively utilized and evident of malasakit and good governance. Sec. Bautista urged everyone to remain enthusiastic and to continue to get involved in activities that foster unity. He said that victory is won when collaborators unite.

(R-L) RD Paisal O. Abutazil, DILG IX; Usec. Rene Glen O. Paje, DSWD; CORDS IX Sec. Rolando Joselito D. Bautista; RDC IX Chairperson Gov. Victor J. Yu; MGen Generoso M Ponio, and DRD Alben Venturanza, NICA IX

Also present during the meeting were: Undersecretary Rene Glen O. Paje, head of RTF-ELCAC IX Secretariat; Gov. Victor J. Yu, Chairperson of Regional Development Council IX; National Intelligence Coordinating Agency IX Dir. Camilo F. Balutan, Chairperson of RTF-ELCAC IX represented by DRD Alben Venturanza; Major General Generoso M Ponio, Commanding General of the 1st Infantry “TABAK” Division; Brigadier General Leonel M Nicolas, Commander of the 102nd Infantry Brigade; and heads and representatives of regional line agencies (RLAs), local government units (LGUs), and private sector representatives. Present online were Dir. Monico S. Batle, Action Officer, Barangay Development Package Program of NTF-ELCAC, and Dir. Phlorita A. Ridao of NEDA Regional Office 9. (Loreta E. Lapad/NEDA IX)