The Barangay Development Program in Davao Region was officially launched on 24 February 2021 through a virtual event conducted via Zoom which was also streamed live on PIA XI and NEDA XI social media pages. The launching marks the start of the roll out of the Barangay Development Projects (BDPs) in the 215 Davao Region barangays cleared of CNN affectation. The event was graced by National Security Adviser Sec. Hermogenes Esperon and, Davao Region Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS11) & DBM Secretary Wendel E. Avisado. The launching was attended by government partners under the Regional Development Council XI, Regional Peace and Order Council XI, Davao Region Local Chief Executives and Barangay Chairpersons, as well as the Region’s partners from the Media.

The Barangay Development Projects are socioeconomic development projects geared towards the provision of farm-to-market roads, health centers, electrification, water and sanitation facilities, schools, and livelihood projects. The development fund for the Barangay Development Program covers 215 barangays, with an FY 2021 GAA Allocation of PhP 4.3 billion for Davao Region.

“As the BDP is envisioned with the end-goal of bringing development to conflict-prone communities, the initiatives under the program aim to address the gaps identified by the civilian agencies and the security sector in Davao. It has been a goal for the Regional Task Force of Region XI that the BDP package for the Region shall address the main drivers and causes for NPA recruitment among disgruntled and marginalized communities, such as: the lack of education infrastructure, inaccessibility, basic services, healthcare, and connectivity in its isolated and disadvantaged areas”, National Security Adviser Sec. Hermogenes Esperon said during his opening remarks.

MGen. Reuben Basiao, Commander of the 10th ID Phil. Army, reported on the security situation in Davao Region. He informed that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were able to reduce the insurgency manpower in Southern Philippines by 67% from 2016 to 2021. MGen. Basiao further said that the infantry unit had increased its area of responsibility, resulting from the depleting strength and capacity of the insurgency forces in its former area of responsibility.

Secretary Avisado reiterated the crucial role of the barangays and LGUs for the successful implementation of the Barangay Development Program and towards ending local communist armed conflict in the country. “The barangays, being the basic cluster in the community, when mobilized, can contribute a lot in eradicating violence and the best way to eliminate the infestation of communist terrorists in the Philippines”, Secretary Avisado said.

ASec. Greg Pineda of the NEDA Regional Development Group, extended his appreciation to all stakeholders present during the virtual launch, especially the personalities coming from the local government units up to the barangays. Asec. Pineda lauds the RTF11-ELCAC for recognizing the need for effective localization and convergence of efforts to address development concerns such as peace and security in conflict vulnerable areas. “The BDP’s have been envisioned to provide peace and development interventions through a menu of socioeconomic programs and projects to communities that were once threatened and vulnerable to communist terrorist groups”, Asec. Pineda said.

All Davao Region provinces and the cities of Davao, Panabo, Digos, and Mati showcased their Barangay Development Projects during the virtual launch. Additionally, Regional Director Alex C. Roldan of DILG XI presented the Monitoring and Evaluation of BDPs. Sec. Esperon assured that the development funds under the Barangay Development Program will be used conscientiously towards the development of conflict-free barangays and avoid the resurgence of insurgent influence. “The Duterte administration is determined to leave a lasting legacy by way of utilizing a Whole-of-Nation Approach (WONA) in eradicating the decades-long communist armed conflict.” Sec. Esperon said.

– Laurence Gido, NEDA XI