Incoming NICA chief: We need to ‘sustain’ NTF-Elcac
MANILA, Philippines — Incoming director-general of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Ricardo de Leon on Thursday stressed on the need to sustain the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), noting how it has effectively helped in the country’s development.
While the NTF-Elcac has previously been criticized for its stance on red-tagging, De Leon maintained that the task force is still among the productive counterinsurgency measures of the government.
“Napaka effective noong ating NTF-Elcac, as well as ‘yong sa Anti-Terrorism Act (The NTF-Elcac and the Anti-Terrorism Act are really effective),” he said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel. “That would now assure us of a stronger nation kasi we have already started giving focus on national security and interest [and] that would now trigger ‘yong development.”
De Leon then later said: “Iyong sa NTF-Elcac, we need to sustain it. And our job now sa NICA is the evaluation.”
The incoming NICA chief cited some “good points” in what the task force has accomplished since 2018, including funding the barangay development program.
“Veteran din tayo sa counterinsurgency operations (We’re also a veteran in counterinsurgency operations). We need to empower the barangays kasi nandoon ‘yong roots eh,” he pointed out.
Some lawmakers, however, have earlier questioned the move to increase the budget provided for the NTF-Elcac
Senator Panfilo Lacson, who was initially supportive of the task force, even noted that its proposed P29.2 billion budget for 2022 was “a bit too much” as it has not used up its remaining funds from the previous year.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives later agreed to set the NTF-Elcac’s budget for 2022 at P17.1 billion.
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