Lorenzana: President’s SONA highligts AFP’s greater role in delivery of basic services
CALOOCAN CITY, July 30 (PIA) — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is “in a position and ideal partner” of local government units (LGUs) and other line agencies in the delivery of basic services as highlighted by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address on Monday.
“In his 5th SONA, the President called on the AFP to play a vital role in a whole-of-government governance. We understand that the President did not mean the AFP would take part in the day-to-day management of the LGUs. Rather, that the AFP with its nationwide deployment is in a position and an ideal partner of the other line agencies and LGUs in the delivery of basic services, and in the implementation of development projects,” Lorenzana said.
He said, however, that the AFP has long been performing these functions, with some of its officers being active and regular members of local peace and development councils.
“Army commanders are members of the Regional Peace and Development Councils and as such they participate in the crafting of policies and programs to improve security and implement development programs,” he explained.
“This function was further enhanced by the issuance of the President of EO 70 on December 2018. EO 70 aims to ‘institutionalize the whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace’ that would allow countryside development,” he said.
“EO 70 provided for the creation of the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) with the President as the Chairman. The National Task Force is composed of all government line agencies and the LGUs. The AFP performs an important role in the NTF because it has the manpower and equipment that could easily be mobilized to implement the projects of the NTF ELCAC. Regional Task Forces were likewise created that included regional offices of line agencies and the LGUs,” he added.
Lorenzana said while NTF-ELCAC main focus is on ending the communist insurgency it also devotes a lot of its efforts to partnering with the LGUs to bring development to the countryside.
“The call, therefore, for the AFP to play a vital role in governance is a reiteration and emphasis of the AFP’s current function,” he said. (PIA NCR)