Press Releases
Bello leads NTF-RTF summing up and ways forward meeting, awards FreeBis to CVMC benefs

Tuguegarao City, Cagayan - DOLE Secretary Silvestre ‘Bebot’ H. Bello III, the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Region 02, led the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) in a Summing Up 2018-2021 and Ways Forward for 2022 and Beyond assessment meeting of the National Task Force - ELCAC through blended platform earlier today. 

The activity was held to apprise the National Cluster leadership and the CORDS on significant accomplishments of the regional task force through its 12 clusters since the inception of Executive Order No. 70 in 2018 as well as to align national and regional efforts, formulate plans for identified gaps and ways forward including the institutionalization of ELCAC efforts beyond the Duterte Administration. 

Bello in his speech mentioned some of the notable accomplishments of the RTF-ELCAC for the past three years, to include the establishment of an operational center in Cagayan in March 2020, completion of halfway houses for rebel returnees in Cagayan, Isabela and Quirino, P700M worth of ELCAC projects including 48 on-going constructions eyed for completion before the end of President Duterte’s term and P32.4M in total DOLE RO2 assistance in CY 2021 for identified focus areas in Region 02. 

Even with the current pandemic limiting our movement, we as a regional task force commit to conduct more activities with the participation of the youth, the IPs, and other important sectors,” Bello said, noting that true and lasting peace is only possible through the mobilization of all sectors of society. 

The activity was attended by Secretary Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr., Chairman of the NTF-ELCAC, Isabela Governor Rodito Albano, Chairperson of the Regional Development Council (RDC) through ZOOM, Province of Cagayan Chief of Staff, Atty. Maria Rosario S. Mamba-Villaflor and Cagayan Provincial Administrator, Mr. Darwin Cagayan, representing Governor Manuel Mamba, Chairperson of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC), NTF-ELCAC Executive Director Allen A. Capuyan, DOLE Undersecretary Benjo Santos S. Benavidez, POEA Administrator Bernard P. Olalia and Ms. Venus Apas.

DOLE RO2 Regional Director Joel M. Gonzales, Chair of the RTF-ELCAC Technical Working Group (TWG), meanwhile presented the overall assessment and analysis of the regional task force’s accomplishments and performance, including ways to better implement ELCAC programs moving forward. 

The labor chief also led an awarding of bicycles through the Free Bisikleta (FreeBis) project of the DOLE at the Cagayan State University (CSU) Andrews Campus Gymnasium thereafter. 

A total of 199 beneficiaries from family members of workers of the Cagayan Valley Medical Center (CVMC) received the said bikes, complete with helmet, raincoat, thermal bag, water bottle and P5,000 load each.

Dahil sa inyo [frontline workers] at ang inyong alaga at suporta, marami sa mga nagka-COVID ang nakaligtas kaya dapat lamang na kayo ay tulungan,” Secretary Bello said in Ybanag, referring to the service of healthcare workers in this time of pandemic. 

Dr. Matthew Baggao meanwhile thanked the DOLE for the assistance provided, noting how impactful the assistance will be as the beneficiaries look for ways to earn in a depleted and battered market. 

Maraming salamat sa DOLE at kay Secretary Bello sa agarang pagpuna sa mga pangangailangan ng mga pamilya ng ating mga healthcare workers,” Dr. Baggao said.

The DOLE conceptualized the FreeBis project as part of its continuing assistance to formal and informal sector workers affected by the pandemic, helping ease unemployment through the provision of alternative livelihood opportunities. 

Those attending the awarding of bikes also included Tuguegarao City Mayor Jefferson Soriano and CSU University President and Dr. Mariden V. Cauilan, representing Dr. Urduja G. Alvarado. ###

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