Bacolod: Northern Negros mayors push for return of P20M budget for insurgency free villages

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Mayors in northern Negros have enlisted the help of Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro for the restoration of their P20 million budget for the Barangay Development Program (BDP) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) in insurgency free barangays, after it was slashed by almost 80 percent this year.

Mayors Salvador Escalante Jr. of Cadiz City, Melecio ‘Beboy’ Yap of Escalante City, Manuel Escalante Jr. of Manapla, and Marxlen dela Cruz of Don Salvador Benedicto met and aired their concerns on the ELCAC budget with Teodoro during the recent Negros Trade Fair activities at Glorietta 2 in Makati City.

Escalante City has the most insurgency cleared barangays at 14, where the villages received P20 million worth of infrastructure projects from the NTF-ELCAC through its Local Government Support Fund-Support to Barangay Development Program (LGSF-BDP).

Escalante said the LGSF-BDP fund was reduced from its original budget P20 million to P4 million in 2022, but increased to P6 million this year, for every insurgency-free barangay.

The reduction of the budget, according to Escalante, ranges from 75 to 80 percent.

The BDP is a hallmark program of the NTF-ELCAC, with the end goal of bringing development to formerly conflict prone communities.

Under the program, each insurgency cleared barangay is allocated P20 million for the construction of farm to market roads, classrooms, water and sanitation systems, health stations, and the implementation of livelihood projects.

Escalante said they were assured by Defense Secretary Teodoro that he will push the reinstatement of P20 million for each insurgency-free barangay.

According to the mayor, Cadiz City has four insurgency free barangays.

(Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)

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